Latest Fourth Estate Articles

Syndicate content Fourth Estate
George Mason University’s Official Student-run Newspaper
Updated: 5 hours 47 min ago


Mon, 15/05/2023 - 5:00pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Navigating college applications as a Guyanese Indo-Caribbean student.


As students apply to college, one of the most popular application mediums, Common App, offers the following race categories for students to select and identify with: ‘American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and White’. The race option of ‘Other’ is absent. Other mediums may offer slightly deviated race selections. However, the current availability of options offered with links to affirmative action, reveal layers of further questions.

Regarding my own background, I am Guyanese, one of the most unique cultures in the world. The country of Guyana is located in South America and is considered part of the Caribbean. I am of Caribbean culture, but many Guyanese people like myself are of Indian descent and have ambiguous features due to us being brought over as indentured servants by England two centuries ago. Furthermore, Guyana is the only country in South America that is not considered Hispanic. Our documentation of ancestral roots and background were recorded and stored in a 208 year old building, the Christianburg Magistrate’s Court, which subsequently was burned down in 2011 along with any ties we may have had with ourselves to India, its villages, and the caste system.

With a unique mixture; Guyana is made up of its own Caribbean culture, soca music, fêtes, and pepperpot. Therefore, I tend to opt for the race of ‘Other’ on official forms. I do not identify myself as Asian due to our stark differences, I am not Hispanic, and I am not Afro-Caribbean which is sometimes offered as an option—though never Indo-Caribbean.

Thus, filling out college applications as a Guyanese student, I have faced hardships in picking a race category. In the many applications where I could not abstain from picking a race or choosing ‘Other’, I have had no option but to pick ‘Asian’ as my closest representation.

The results of identifying myself as Asian on official forms are consequential to my career and compromising of my identity, as many Indo-Caribbeans around the world face the same dilemmas regarding affirmative action.

First, I must touch on the recent case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. In this case, the Supreme Court may weigh banning affirmative action and their ideal aims to make college student bodies diverse by considering race as an admission factor. 

According to Harvard, “If the lawsuit against Harvard succeeds, it would diminish students’ opportunities to live and learn in a diverse campus environment.” Likewise, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) has tried to insinuate that it is unconstitutional to account for race in an application.

Understanding efforts of equity, I offer a third issue outside of political disputes subject to further scrutiny, without negation to affirmative action itself: Affirmative action is too broad to be representative.

In America, colleges consist of the two largest race groups, which are White and Asian, as described by The National Center For Education, causing colleges to give an advantage to other race groups in order to reach equity. As a Guyanese person who must identify as Asian, sources like the American Psychological Association speculate that may I face a higher proportion of competition in college admissions which could have drastic effects. 

For comparison, the Census details what percentage of each race have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The results are as follows: 61.0% for the Asian population; 41.9% for the Non-Hispanic White population; 28.1% for the Black population; and 20.6% for the Hispanic population.

According to the Guyana Chronicle, in the most recent known study of 2018, only 2.3% of Guyanese people have bachelor’s degrees.

It is not uncommon within the country and culture to go straight into the workforce after grade school. However, it must be noted that Guyanese people who immigrated to America cannot be accounted for because official forms do not document our education status past Guyana itself further due to us being accounted for as only Asian. Guyanese global statistics regarding academia remain under-researched and we do not have evidence to support Asian education attainment rates at 61%.

Given the disadvantage I face, I speak to further questions that must be noted in the debate as it is not only Guyana that suffers the same disadvantage in broad applications and research. Will the Caribbean one day be accurately accounted for in future race option choices? Do Middle-Eastern persons who must identify themselves as White on official forms feel represented? Do other Asian countries with lower education attainment face their own obstacles regarding affirmative action in America?

Like my counterparts, I must continue to work harder than other groups to earn the same opportunities in academia. The Harvard case has yet to be decided, but as of now, myself and the rest of the undetected Indo-Caribbean population continue to fall through the cracks of affirmative action.


Mon, 15/05/2023 - 4:52pm

Fourth Estatate/Madalyn Godfrey

Mason Day held, despite inclement weather.


On April 28th, 2023, Mason held its longest-running tradition of the Mason Day event. Although its tradition, this year’s event faced one of its toughest adversaries, inclement weather.

With the event being held outdoors, students in attendance endured cold and heavy rain throughout the seven hour event, some finding shelter underneath tents and umbrellas, while others wore ponchos to keep from being drenched by the downpouring rain.

The rain’s dismal presence did not only dampen clothes but for some students, their spirits. Sophomore Kristen Hill, expressed her frustration with the gloomy weather occurring on a day and event that she was looking forward to.

“My Mason Day has been cold and dreary, I mean my clothes are all wet… it’s a little depressing not gonna lie. As a college student, I want time to take a break, take a load off from all my hard work, but I’m disappointed especially compared to last year,” said Hill.

Junior Alix Upchurch also provided her own insight on the event, focusing on unforeseen possibilities of rescheduling.

“Who wants to be out here wet… we’re trying to make the most of what we got but it would have been a little bit nicer if it was not raining. However, if they had moved it to another day, who knows what that weather would have been like,” said Upchurch.

Upchurch then went on to suggest that organizers should “definitely have a rain date, so if this happens again, we have another date to go off of.”

The disappointment didn’t end there, as the artists for Mason Day were equally dismayed by the unexpected conditions that the weather had brought.

Student performer Nate Haile, a Mason rapper known as Young 5, was saddened by the outcome of the weather. But despite the rain, Haile opted to remain positive and make the most out of the occasion.

“It’s raining, I want some sunshine, but it’s okay… People are still out here with their umbrellas and raincoats, and it’s really nice to see the Mason community all here together and I’m really excited to rap for them. I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna give them energy, I’m gonna get them hype, and I’m gonna turn it up so that way we can all have a good time,” said Haile.

Although postponing Mason Day would have been the obvious decision for the event organizers to make, Patriot Activity Council’s Team Lead graduate student Cristina Casais shared with students the behind-the-scenes challenges that prevented organizers from doing so.

“When you have an event of this scale, it’s really difficult to reschedule because we have a ton of people that we’re not only relying on, but they’re relying on us. We have vendors that are coming and the artists who are traveling in… so that’s a lot of travel plans scheduled on our end and it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things that people don’t really see. So while it’s easy to be like, ‘Yeah it’s raining, just reschedule.’ We can’t. But we’re making the most out of it! I think everybody has still been having a good time so far and they’re making the most out of the rain,” said Casais.

Sophomore Jackson Howser was among the many students that attended Mason Day and had a great time, sharing his experience with those who stayed in and missed out on this year’s festival.  

“You’re missing out! I mean they didn’t reschedule it so you had to be here and just make the most out of it, I know it’s not ideal but it still went on, and those that are here are definitely enjoying it,” said Howser.

Despite the rainy weather dampening the event’s regular festivities, this year’s Mason Day showcased the dedication demonstrated by the event organizers and the Mason community, continuing the university’s longest-running tradition through rain or shine!


Mon, 15/05/2023 - 4:46pm

Fourth Estate/Sarena Marrisa Sohan

A conversation with viral pop duo Crash Adams.


Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity. 

Rising to fame through TikTok, pop duo Crash Adams along with their drummer, Chris Savage, and bassist, Nick Savage, made their way to the Mason Day stage performing to Mason students, faculty, staff and more with eye-catching suits and big personalities. 

What first got you into music?

Adams: Well for me, I had my cousins that were playing guitar and I always wanted to be like them when I was a kid. So one day my dad came home with a guitar and [it] ended up that I didn’t want to play it at all… [I] saw they were joining bands, saw them playing live on stage and wanted to be like them so bad that I just [started] playing, playing and playing 4-6 hours a day.

Crash: I find for me growing up I kinda always knew I would be in music. I didn’t know what it would exactly be. I actually made a rap song in grade four, that was like my first ever kinda music introduction thing and it wasn’t bad for a fourth grader, but then I was really into hip-hop, really loved that area of music. When I got into high school I was starting to dabble in like dance music and ended up being a DJ from there and that’s kind of what started it all. I was a DJ and then once I finished college I called up Adams and we wanted to make a song together. It was kinda DJ music at the time then we started into other things, but we couldn’t really find a singer that could write good lyrics. So from there, it was just more of like let’s try it out, let’s see if we can do it and then we ended up doing it.

What is the creative process like?

Crash: It changes all the time. Somedays one of us will come up with a demo where there’s no lyrics that start off the process and then we’ll put lyrics to it. Sometimes we start off with just a guitar and some lyrics and then we make a beat to it. Usually, the song is like very poorly finished at first and then we throw lyrics on it and we just pick apart what we like and what we don’t like and how we wanna build the song from there. 

What is next for you music wise?

Crash: You actually caught us at a great time. We’re about to put out a new song called “Lucky” very soon, probably within the next month or a little bit. I don’t wanna give away too much, but we definitely have a lot of music coming in the next six months. We’re gonna be rolling it out song by song and content by content piece.

What is your favorite part about being an artist?

Adams: What we’re about to do right now, go out and play a show that’s my favorite part, the reason I do it.

Crash: I would say mine is the connection that our music brings people. The way we describe our mission is literally to raise everybody’s vibration that we come into contact with, whether it’s through music, whether it’s through content. When you see it actually happening, when you see it raising people’s vibration, making people happy, making them motivated to do something else that’s what I love.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

Adams: Thank you, that’s one thing I’d say. 

Crash: My message is use me as an example of you can do anything you want. We’re not supposed to be here but we’re here because we decided to be here, and we decided this is the life we were going to create for ourselves. So decide the life you want to create for yourself and make it happen, cause it does happen.

With the love and light brought through their infectious melodies, it was easy for the rain to become an afterthought. After giving out a 45 minute performance to an audience that will surely be humming “Hey! Hey! Hey mister” throughout finals week, the duo joined the crowd in the rain for a group hug as they performed “Give Me A Kiss” while emphasizing the importance of friendship and unity even through obstacles.

Crash Adams delivered an epic performance that is sure to go down as one of the greatest performances in Mason Day history.


Fri, 12/05/2023 - 3:43pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Welcome to the final Pats for Patriots of the year! 

Another school year has come and gone. So many things have changed throughout this year but many have stayed the same as well. Mason Nation continues to grow, innovate, create, fight for what they believe in, celebrate diversity, have fun and most importantly: be kind. 

This week…

Faculty member Carollei McMillan received a pat for being an amazing planner and communicator. “I am always so thankful for your input and brain power. You’re a fun and sweet person and I am so happy to know and work with you.” Her fellow faculty member also admires Carollei’s work ethic and says she has “such a good groove going.”

Student Genamarie McCant received a pat for her hard work on “Take Your Junior Patriot to Work” day. A staff member thanked her and showed their appreciation for helping out at the Mason Chooses kindness station and “taking amazing pictures!” 

Kathryn Mangus, the Director of Student Media, received a pat for being a “model of kindness for her students and staff.”

One example of Kathryn’s kindness is that each year, she spends her own money to buy her entire team Girl Scout cookies. She takes orders so that every employee and student gets the cookies they love most. Her fellow faculty member says, “This small act of kindness makes such a big difference!” 

Student Athlete Jordan Smith received a pat for his kindness before a big game. “Thank you for taking a picture with my son and his friend at the Baseball game last week.” The grateful staff member and fan says they “had a blast at the game rooting for the #MasonNation baseball team!” 

The Fourth Estate would like to send several final pats of the school year to Mason Nation. We want to wish the best of luck to all students and faculty as we push through finals to the end of the semester, you got this! Congratulations to all of the spring 2023 graduates on your hard work and accomplishment! 

Have a restful, safe, and adventurous summer Patriots! 


Thu, 11/05/2023 - 10:30am

Photo Courtesy of Katie Killius


Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization with almost 3,000 chapters all across the world including all 50 states and 47 countries.

At Mason, their chapter is committed to inclusivity and opportunities for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. “At Best Buddies GMU our goal is to foster inclusion and offer a safe space for everyone, whether they have a disability or not.” said freshman Clare Kunschke, the Social Media Manager of Best Buddies GMU.

The club caters to Mason LIFE students according to Kunschke. Kunschke claims that Best Buddies GMU helps to create friendships for students from various walks of life.

Recently Best Buddies GMU celebrated Springfest on April 16. The RSO claimed to have struggled getting it off the ground, but it came together as a great event according to Kunschke. 

“We had so much fun! During Springfest, we had lawn games available to play, as well as a tie-dye station. Our main goal was for all of our members to tie-dye t-shirts so that we can all match when we attend the Friendship Walk in Washington DC, which is on April 29.”

During the Springfest, Best Buddies GMU was able to meet with representatives from UBU, an RSO dedicated to creating a space for neurodivergent students and Student Government. The event allowed the club to meet many prospective members.  

As of May, Best Buddies GMU club has over 100 members. “While we have over 100 members registered on Mason 360, not everyone comes to all the meetings, and that is alright! We are very structured in our meeting times and events and are flexible in how many people could attend our events. However, we would love for more people to join our community and consistently attend meetings and events, as we have a lot of fun!” said Kunschke.

Best Buddies GMU aims to host meetings every Wednesday and has multiple events throughout the rest of the year. Students who are interested can join the club on Mason360 or follow them on Instagram.


Thu, 11/05/2023 - 9:45am

Photo Courtesy of GMU Fashion Society

Promoting and participating in the world of fashion on campus.


Formed in 2013, The Fashion Society has provided students at Mason the opportunity to attend numerous photoshoots and fashion shoots. The Fashion Society is currently run by their elected President, senior DZaunta Jones.

According to Jones, “The Fashion Society is an organization dedicated to promoting and participating in the world of Fashion”. 

The RSO hosts various events throughout the year that give students at Mason the opportunity to express themselves creatively and build their portfolio when it comes to fashion. 

The organization additionally provides a community for like minded individuals who enjoy fashion. Jones often describes the Fashion Society as a “creative network”. 

According to Jones, “Everyone has valuable talents, opinions, and things to offer. If you participate in this organization, you’ll always leave with experience or having made a connection.” 

Jones emphasizes the RSO’s dependence on a team effort for its success. “Photographers will always need models. Models will always need things to model for. Stylists will always need people and things to style for. The Fashion Society is the final stop that brings all these people together.” said Jones.

On February 3, The Fashion Society invited five professionals from the fashion industry to come and talk to members about their experiences in their careers. 

The professionals who came were runway model Letiyo Mawadri, DC Fashion Designer Isha Sankoh, JAGCO Mother Modeling Agency Founder Jennifer Gomez, Fashion Photographer Nia Ross and Founder & CEO of BLACK Agency Zakur Amun-El. 

Jones spoke about the panel being “truly inspiring to listen to” and noted the professionals invited were open and transparent. 

After the panel, the panelists all shared their Instagrams and offered opportunities for those who were interested. Amun-El, one of the modeling agency professionals, had previously invited Jones to his hosted networking event due to her wish to model at the panel. “I was very excited to get an invite and it made me realize that I’m actually doing what I set out the organization to do, which is to give people opportunities,” said Jones.

Students who are interested in joining can get connected to The Fashion Society on Instagram or through email which is


Wed, 10/05/2023 - 5:42pm

Fourth Estate/Viviana Smith

Mason’s Coalition for Worker Rights and American Association of University professors stage protests against union-busting tactics by current service contractors.


The Budd Group is a service company responsible for providing cleaning services staff at Mason. According to their mission statement, “The Budd Group strives to be a God-hon­or­ing com­pa­ny of excel­lence that safe­ly deliv­ers facil­i­ty sup­port solu­tions to meet our cus­tomers’ needs, offers devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for our employ­ees and con­tributes to our community.”

In partnership with workers’ union SEIU 32BJ, The Budd Group custodians Mason have attempted to form unions to advocate for improved wages and better working conditions. According to a post by UndocuMason on the behalf of SEIU 32BJ, “The Budd Group has responded by violating labor law and intimidating and retaliating against workers for their union activity.”

Following the recent termination of Angie Santiago, a Mason custodial worker provided by service company The Budd Group, members of Mason’s Coalition for Worker Rights and Mason’s American Association of University Professors, GMU-AAUP, alongside Mason students held a protest on May 1 outside of the Office of the President on the Fairfax campus to advocate for the custodial staff’s right to unionize.

“For more than three years, these workers–the women and men who clean Mason’s buildings–have tried to unionize to increase their wages and benefits and to improve their working conditions,” says Tim Gibson, President of GMU-AAU.

“These contractors have punished workers who wanted to unionize.”

In the past, Mason has seen coverage, protests and petitions addressing the issue of unfair working conditions and treatment towards Mason’s custodial staff. 

In 2020, a 232 signature petition was created under the title “Help GMU Custodial Workers Fight for Better Working Conditions and Fair Wages”. According to WeareMitú in Jan. 2022, “[Mason] recently laid off 68 custodians — mostly Central American women — a few months after they demanded safer working conditions and livable wages.”

Bethany Letiecq, a co-founder of Mason’s Coalition for Worker Rights and Vice President of Mason’s American Association of University Professors, helped coordinate Monday’s protest.

Letiecq expressed the frustration of repeatedly standing up against retaliation from Mason’s current contractors. “Several years ago we had several rallies and strikes with custodial workers,” said Letiecq. “They have been under so much intimidation with threats of retaliation.”

Junior Bardia Assefbarkhi reacted to the protest and urged changes be made regarding custodial pay to hold Mason accountable. 

“It is unacceptable that these hardworking individuals have been underpaid and undervalued for years,” said Assefbarkhi. “Workers have the right to form a union and collectively bargain for better working conditions, wages, and benefits. We cannot let corporations or institutions silence and suppress the voices of workers.”

In an Instagram post, AAUPMason calls on President Washington to make changes to the contractors Mason hires, stating “The National Labor Review Board has rebuked YET ANOTHER Mason contractor for violating our custodians’ rights”. 

Gibson claims that despite attempts to raise the issue of Union-busting to President Washington, there have not been many changes made to protect the rights of the workers. 

“When Mason’s contractors punish and intimidate workers to stop the union, they’re violating the law. President Washington knows this,” says Gibson.

“President Washington needs to adopt a responsible contractor policy. He needs to order his contractors to stop their union-busting tactics now.”

According to NorthernVirginia Magazine, in 2022, there was a protest against another cleaning contractor, Arkatype Group, regarding workers being required to do unusual labor resulting in physical pain. 

“He’s announced a new contractor with great promises of improvement, and each time the contractors he hires engage in the same union-busting tactics,” says Gibson. “

We’re done with educating the administration on this.”

Mason Facilities did not respond to request for comment.

“As workers of this institution, as students, as community members, it’s just wrong,” says Letiecq. “

It’s time to demand that President Washington stand up.”


Wed, 10/05/2023 - 5:33pm

Photo Courtesy of Felicity A. González Rivera

Felicity A. González Rivera


Sophomore Felicity A. Gonzalez Rivera is a student from the School of Art at Mason. Pursuing a Art and Visual Technology major with an Anthropology, Forensics concentration minor Rivera shares her experiences and seeks to model the standards of Mason School of Art as she explores life as an art student at Mason. Diving into her aspirations, Rivera shares her own career dreams and tips for aspiring artists looking to join the Mason community.

Taking an early interest in art, Rivera started her journey at the young age of four.

 “I’ve been drawing ever since I was really young— my mother says since I was 4. But I never took it very seriously. I’ve always pursued other art-related fields. I’ve acted in plays, sang in choirs, I modeled with John Casablanca when I was 7 for a brief period of time, and I was a dancer for 7 years. I thought about pursuing art when I was choosing what high school to go to. I went to Charles J. Colgan HS in PWCS, and I was in the CFPA program there. It’s an arts program I had to audition to get into.” said Rivera.

 “While I was there I really honed in on my skills and developed techniques that I never would’ve been able to alone. Seeing what I was capable of is what made me realize that art, specifically drawing, is what I should pursue a career in.”

In plans to become a responsible contributor to society, Rivera is taking a course in Forensic Figure Sculpture with Joe Mullins as she pursues her dream career of becoming a Forensic Artist to help people such as missing children in the future. 

“In the most simplest of explanations, a Forensic Artist would aid in missing persons cases by age progressing a younger image of the child to create an image that could reflect the time that has passed. They could also create composite sketches. Additionally, a Forensic Artist could have a skull of an unidentified person and use forensic anthropological techniques for a reconstruction.” said Rivera.

Reflecting on her life of being an art student at Mason, Rivera recognizes the benefits of studying at the school through great professors. 

“I’d describe the School of Art’s faculty and staff as very passionate and talented. Almost every single art professor I’ve had were not only talented in their own craft, they were passionately passing on their knowledge to the next generation of artists. They’ve all personally encouraged me to challenge what is to be expected of me as an artist and forge my own path of expression.” said Rivera.

The wide array of resources and exhibits on campus were also credited such as the award-winning Art and Design building, Mason Exhibitions and wide range of Art Student Organizations on Campus with hopes that more students may discover them. 

“The art department as a whole is, how do I put this, very reflective of their students. There’s so many clubs and events constantly going to cater to student’s individual interests and passions.” said Rivera. 

“If you’ve never walked into the Art and Design building, the one thing you probably wouldn’t expect is the number of fliers posted of exhibitions, club meetings, events, etc. The only thing I’d say is that I wish that all of the amazing stuff going on with the arts were better advertised to the student body.”

While Rivera has had positive experiences with Mason due to its many resources, she speaks to the future in hopes that others with similar ambitions can witness the same journey without holding back in believing in their abilities. 

“I know this one might be hard, but don’t compare your progress and skill to someone else’s. You never know how long someone has been working to get better, and assuming someone’s hard earned skill is a natural talent is unfair to both you and the other person.” said Rivera. 

“As for students who may want to pursue the same path as me, I just want to say this. Realizing your passion and what you want to do with your life is not only straight-up terrifying but is also overwhelming. A strong sense of purpose and willpower is important to have to prepare for a career field such as this one. My desire to do everything I can to use my skills to help people in these situations is how I will stand up to the intimidating aspects of the job.”

While Rivera is pursuing a career in Forensics Art, she also creates other kinds of art which can be found on her Instagram handle @felicitygonzalezriveraart.


Wed, 10/05/2023 - 5:28pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Professors share the importance of leadership and management skills for student success.


Mason professors and advisors highly encourage students to start building strong leadership and management skills during their time at Mason. Students looking to enhance their resumes and professional profiles could use these skills in preparation for their future careers. There are clubs and organizations at Mason where students can get involved and potentially build their leadership and management skills before they venture out into the professional world. 

According to Amanda Ganus, Academic Advisor at the School of Business, having open and clear communication is an important skill in leadership and management careers. “Even if you are not in a leadership role, the types of skills that you need to develop as a leader are applicable at any level…figure out your own style of leadership and management and be able to adapt that as you go through your career,” said Ganus.

During their time at Mason, students can start practicing their management skills by learning how to balance their classes, workload, jobs, and other obligations—while also giving themselves time for mental breaks— and “think of them as practice for after graduation,” said Ganus. “Take your classes and experiences as a student as practice for application outside of school,” said Ganus. 

“Communications to me is one of the most important elements of leadership in any field,” said Marty Abruzzo, Student Services Coordinator at the School of Integrative Studies. A good manager and leader can communicate well with their team and bring their team together. “People want to be part of something, and a good manager recognizes that,” said Abruzzo.

Abruzzo believes that building networks is a crucial step toward being a strong leader and manager. There are programs at Mason where you can be a peer leader and “that’s a great way to get a mentorship, learn from current faculty advisors, keep contacts, and build networks,” said Abruzzo. Resources such as Mason 360 help students learn about events and clubs that are available on campus. “There’s so much good that comes from connecting with like-minded students that you can all share information and connect, so take a leap and get involved,” said Abruzzo. 

Dr. Nick Lennon, Director of Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) and Adjunct Professor at the School of Integrative Studies, values specific leadership skills such as communicating across differences, conflict management, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and ethical decision-making.

“Employers are definitely looking for students who are able to both manage and lead. A friend who works for an engineering company told me that their company used to only hire students with the very highest GPAs, but they expanded the range of who they were hiring to make sure to include those with more leadership and teamwork skills, including emotional intelligence,” said Lennon.  

 According to Lennon, a strong leader also needs to be open-minded and a good listener. “One of the most important things to do as a leader is to ask good open-ended questions and to listen to others, including those with very different beliefs than your own. This is often missed because people assume that leaders are supposed to be commanding and ‘in-charge.’ In reality, the best leaders seek out different viewpoints, empower others, and make ethical decisions for the common good,” said Lennon.

“I can’t emphasize enough, for students specifically, to take opportunities in student organizations and activities here at Mason to further develop their leadership potential and leadership skills,” said Dr. Katie Rosenbusch, Associate Professor of Management at the School of Business.

“Coming from an HR program, one of the things, when I am interviewing potential candidates, that I look for is leadership and management skills. I am always looking for people that can work as a team, have good communication skills, are able to think critically, but then decipher how to be innovative and creative— and a lot of that comes from a leadership standpoint,” said Rosenbusch. 

Rosenbusch indicated that learning and applying leadership skills is not easy. “One of my kinds of philosophies is that you don’t really know leadership until you practice it. In theory, it sounds really easy. But when you actually have to execute it and have followers, and have the followers execute a goal or strategy, it can be very difficult. So, you can only gain those skills by practicing them,” said Rosenbusch.

Students can utilize their time at Mason to get involved in organizations and activities on campus that can help in building their professional skills, according to Abruzzo. “I would encourage all students to find anything that they are interested in… All the resources you need are here. If the students can just see that, sign up for something and try it, more school spirit would come around,” said Abruzzo.


Sun, 07/05/2023 - 3:59pm

Photo Courtesy of Abegail Aquiro

A new place for food and friends.


A new resident student organization, the Culinary Club, has officially launched and is open to all foodies at Mason.

The club which informally launched in 2020 became a place for students to try new recipes and learn cooking techniques. For students with little to no experience in the kitchen, the club offers lessons on how to make healthy and delicious meals.

“Our main inspiration for the club was that people had expressed interest in wanting to cook and make friends. Some college kids enter college only knowing how to cook the basics. We get students from all skill levels ready to learn,” said junior Abegail Aquiro. 

“We wanted a way to help them learn how to cook so that when they are independent, they can provide for themselves and eat good without breaking the bank.” 

A typical meeting with the Culinary Club involves a cooking lesson teaching students how to make a few dishes, and frequently samples cuisine from around the world. 

“We did Japanese food where students learned to cook okonomiyaki and rice balls. We try to do 2-3 items so we can try a lot of different things and students can leave satisfied.”

“Students are given ingredients and supplies that they need to cook. Officers lead the groups by showing them proper cooking techniques from mincing and to julienne; stirring vs folding mixtures; and frying and sauteing. At the end of the meeting, they can enjoy what they made with their friends or bring it home.” said Aquiro.

Club members say through the cooking lessons, potlucks, game and movie nights, they’ve been able to meet new people, make friends and learn how to make some incredible food. 

“I had a chance to meet people from different majors, walks of life, and cooking experience,” shared senior Jenise Blount. Many of the recipes we learn are so fun to make and even better that we get to make it them together. After each meeting, I think how can I incorporate it in my meals for next week. Many of the meals work so well for a college student daily schedule of going to class, studying, and relaxing.”

For more information on the Culinary Club students may check out their Instagram or join the club Discord.


Sun, 07/05/2023 - 3:55pm

Fourth Estate

Mason student organizations, faculty and staff teamed up to ease access to sexual health and period products.


According to their website, Student Health Services provides free contraceptives, menstrual products and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings. Additionally, emergency contraceptives are available for a purchase of $35 through an appointment. 

Recently, SHS has installed new vending machines stocked with reproductive health products for Mason students. 

There are currently two machines on the Fairfax Campus. The first one is in the Johnson Center, near the blue lockers at the ground level exit. The second machine is in the Student Union Building 1 (SUB 1) next to the SHS, room 2300.

Mason’s Arlington Campus has one dispenser in their SHS office. The Office of Disability Services contributed braille to the dispensers, and students can scan a QR code on the dispensers to request larger orders of contraceptives.

SHS Health and Well-Being Coordinator Stephanie Funkhouser described what is included in the dispenser.

“The sexual health dispensers have a wide variety of products. We stock external condoms that are latex-free, regular and Magnum. In order to be as inclusive as possible we also included dental dams in the dispensers as well as lubricant packets,” said Funkhouser.

“Additionally, outside of contraceptives, we offer period products, so menstrual pads and tampons are also available in the dispensers.”

The rollout was inspired by another university. Health Equity Lead Nurse at Student Health Services Megan Symanowitz heard about the program from Josh Kinchen, Director of LGBTQ+ Resources Center. Kinchen worked at Florida State University and described a program there where the university had installed and stocked similar dispensers on their campus.

Symanowitz said that SHS wanted to improve accessibility to sexual health products after offering them in their office. “

We’ve had these resources available at Student Health Services for eons,” said Symanowitz.

“Students didn’t necessarily know that they could come ask us for them.” 

Symanowitz claimed spreading awareness of the dispensers will promote sexual health.

The new machines encourage the availability of products and education on STDs and STIs according to Funkhouser.

“Having these [vending machines] on campus is a way to promote the sexual health of the student body,” said Funkhouser.

“But also decreases that stigma around sex and lets students know that you can engage in these practices and be safe about it.” 

“Getting the word out that these are provided by Student Health Services is going to improve the conversation and make students more likely to come talk to us about their sexual health needs,” said Symanowitz. “

Because we’re the first ones to know if there’s a problem, and it would be a lot better if we could open that door sooner before there’s any issue.”

Symanowitz says that many groups contributed to getting the dispensers approved. 

“I just want to emphasize the fact that this was a group effort that involved several different RSOs, Student Government and several different departments in the community. It wouldn’t have happened without a lot of collaboration.” 

Dr. Stephen Wintermyer was Interim Executive Director of SHS at Mason at the time of launch and approved the program. Stephen Morehouse, Executive Director of Mason Student Centers, Event Services and EagleBank Arena, also helped with the approval of dispenser locations in campus buildings. Dr. Rachel Wernicke, Associate Dean and Chief Mental Health Officer, oversees SHS, and Melissa Thierry, Director of Regional Campuses for University Life, oversees dispensers in Arlington campus.

Mason Student Body President Sophia Nguyen and Senators Liam Keen and Jackson McAfee of Student Government provided SHS with feedback for the concept and later advertised the rollout.

Molly Sullivan, president of Generation Action, a registered student organization (RSO) chapter of Planned Parenthood, said they wanted to make more students aware that did not know where to find reproductive health products and services on campus.

“Our attempt to remedy that problem was to hold a meeting during which our members created posters that displayed where to find condoms, emergency contraception, and STI testing on campus,” said Sullivan. 

“Our board member then went and hung up those posters on varying locations in the Johnson Center, Horizon Hall and the HUB.”

Nguyen leads the RSO Patriot Period Project, alongside Vice President Shafuq Naseem. The RSO agreed to help supply period products to the dispenser.

 “I have to put in a plug for the Patriot Period Project also because they’re the ones who supply us with the menstrual products. When we decided that we wanted to put menstrual products in the dispensers, I reached out to them and they got back to me right away.” said Symanowitz.

SHS hopes to install a contraceptive dispenser at Fenwick Library in the future.


Sat, 06/05/2023 - 5:33pm

Photo Courtesy of Mason Athletics


Mason women’s soccer midfielder, Milan Pierre Jerome, makes history by becoming the first female Haitian soccer player to make a FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance.

“My first reaction was very emotional,” said Jerome. “I think being able to realize that being the first to ever do it for our country just made me really happy, to see everything we’ve been going through this past year.”

This is meaningful for Milan because she hopes to be an inspiration to other female soccer players in her country. She is grateful to be positively impacting not only the female soccer players in her country but all women of Haitian descent.

“I’m able to represent my small country in a positive light in the World Cup and do something, not many people can say they do,” said Jerome.

The selection process was a journey for Jerome. Her story stems from her high school years at 14 when she traveled to Haiti for two weeks. The trial occurred during those two weeks when she trained with other soccer players.

“I trained with the girls, ate with the girls, got acclimated with the style of play,” said Jerome. “After, they told me that they’d call me up for the first tournament for the U17 and we did the U17 Caribbean Cup Championship a month after.” 

While at the University of Maryland, Jerome has had 2 exceptional seasons. According to Mason Athletics, during the 2020-21 season, Jerome made nine appearances while starting at 3 of those games and played a total of one hundred ten minutes. Before that, she attended Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale Florida where she represented the Haiti National Team for U17 and U20.

Junior Vincent Nguyen, who is a professional soccer fan, is excited to have a fellow Mason student compete at such a high level. He is very proud of Milan’s accomplishments on and off the field.

“It’s not easy to help your country qualify for its first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup and doing so is commendable,” said Nguyen. “As a Mason student, I’m proud to call her one of our own and excited to see everything she can do this summer.”

What Nguyen finds most exciting about the sport of soccer is the means of uniting people of different backgrounds and cultures. He sees that potential in Jerome.

“While I do believe Milan faces many difficult challenges ahead in the World Cup playing teams like England, Denmark and China, I feel like her mentality will help her overcome these challenges and shock the world,” said Nguyen.


Sat, 06/05/2023 - 5:11pm

Photo Courtesy of US onAir Network

Students joined at town hall by local Virginia representatives.


On April 24, Congress Day was hosted by Students onAir at GMU. The full event can be observed through their recorded session.

Joined on Congress Day were the five figures of Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Jennifer Wexton, Former Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia State Delegate Kaye Kory and Visiting Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum Karina Lipsman.

Reps. Connolly and Wexton sat together and spoke on democratic issues.

Rep. Connolly prioritized raising voter turnout and spoke of the implementation of voting on Mason’s Fairfax campus.

“I have represented George Mason University for 20 years. One of the reasons we have a voting precinct territory at Mason University came out of my office. You will hear people sell you a false hope that the problem in America is voting sanctity and making sure fraud does not occur. What is a problem in America even in a presidential election, 40% of us don’t vote. Yet, in a number of red states, we have seen voter suppression in front of our eyes.” said Rep. Connolly.

“You know, both Jennifer and I were at the Capitol on Jan. 6. I saw the mob, five feet away from the floor of the House of Representatives. That’s an image that will always stay with me in terms of what are we fighting for. There are people to this very day, who want you to believe that was just a bunch of tourists who got a little excited. They were people who had set up to overturn a free and fair election because they didn’t like the results.”

Rep. Connolly said he helped pass policies in a productive Congress.

“Both Jennifer [Wexton] and I were privileged to serve in the 117th Congress, one of the most productive congresses since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. We passed infrastructure legislation. We passed the largest environmental bill in history with the Inflation Reduction Act. We passed the largest manufacturing and research and development bill in history with the chip manufacturing bill. We passed $5 trillion to save the economy during the worst pandemic in 100 years.”

Rep. Wexton said Republicans are trying to not raise the debt ceiling.

“Right now I serve in the Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee. Another issue is the debt ceiling. Republicans are threatening to hold it hostage if we don’t make drastic cuts to things like food nutrition programs for kids who can’t afford to eat and things like medical care for seniors.” 

Rep. Wexton emphasizes the importance of medical care and her recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

“You may have seen that I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. With the 90,000 people diagnosed every year, I feel I can actually do something about it, so it’s a new mission I have in Congress.”

Former Rep. Davis, standing for his speech, defended Republicans against raising the debt ceiling.

“We have a 1.2 to 1 debt-to-GDP ratio. What that means is somebody pays this off at some point. It’s going to be your generation either through hyperinflation, reduced benefits, or when you get older and the economy crashes.” said Davis.

“So, the Republicans want some conditions before we raise the debt ceiling. You’re going to have to either raise revenue or you’re going to have to cut spending. By the way, there are precedents for members voting against raising the debt ceiling. Joe Biden did it twice. Obama did twice when they were in Congress or both. I was happy to be at the signing of the Deficit Reduction Act.”. 

Former Rep. Davis spoke to polarization and the impacts of media coverage.

“We have a saying today that people don’t tune in for information, they tune in for affirmation. It started in 1986 when the Federal Communications Commission did away with something called the Fairness Doctrine, we don’t have to show both sides anymore. If you ever watch MSNBC and FOX on the same night, they’re playing to different audiences.” said Former Rep. Davis.

The town hall opened with a Women In Politics session with Virginia State Delegate Kaye Kory and Visiting Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum Karina Lipsman.

Lipsman spoke about her successes, challenges, and background in Ukraine.

“I was born in Odessa, Ukraine, when it was still under the Soviet regime. I’ve experienced the things that come with that kind of regime like standing in bread lines, not having a voice, and not being able to do things that you otherwise would be able to do here in the United States.” said Lipsman.

“I got to see a lot of what’s going on in countries that are less fortunate than ours. I got to work with leaders across the globe on their defense strategies and how they protect their countries. There have been a number of women refugees from the slave labor camps that I met and brought to the General Assembly. The fact that I’m able to do that really makes the problems in the world personal and gives all of us an opportunity to fight against oppression of any kind.”

Lipsman said women are held to higher standards.

“I got into the male-dominated industry of finance and defense, and so I was always the only girl in the room usually. I was told that women should wear a certain type of outfit if they wanted to be taken seriously. It’s so important that we don’t look at ourselves as victims but we look at ourselves as empowered individuals who have a reason and deserve to be where we are.”

Delegate Kory spent 14 years serving the House of Delegates and shared implemented policies to help women. 

“The legislation that allowed all women who are incarcerated to have menstrual products distributed to them at no cost and upon request is important, because until that legislation women were having to prove that they needed menstrual products and were also being required to pay. We were the first state ever in the country to do this, and a number of others followed suit. I’m most proud of giving access to my constituents and trying in every way to listen to them and convince them that they are part of the government.” said Delegate Kory.

Delegate Kory encourages perseverance.

“A lot of what she [Lipsman] just said is true. Women are in general scrutinized more for their appearance and presentation, and frankly, that’s always been true my entire life. I think prejudice can be used, and that is what I have done. Allowing people to be heard is crucial to any kind of change.” said Delegate Kory.

Closing off the town hall, Delegate Kory, like the other figures, wants students to remember to vote.

“And finally…vote, vote, vote. Always vote. Drag your friends, drag your neighbors, and don’t stop voting.”


Sat, 06/05/2023 - 5:03pm

The Fourth Estate

Students react to viral TikTok of predator caught on campus.


Editor’s Note: The content of this story has not been legally disclosed and does not reflect verified claims against the suspect.

On Feb. 1, Mason students witnessed a viral video on campus when an account known as dmvP3dpatrol on TikTok posted a verbal confrontation with an unidentified Mason student who allegedly attempted to meet with an underage thirteen-year-old boy.

The accused student, seen in a pink hoodie and denim zip-up jacket, was sitting outside of the Center of Fine Arts Building where he was confronted by three men hosting the one-minute video clip. The account owner, “Dee”, initiated the conversation and made the student call his parents to explain the situation. “So we’re with DMV Ped Patrol. We actually catch pedophiles trying to meet with children online, and your son here was trying to meet with a thirteen-year-old boy in a public restroom to have sex.” 

Dee said as the mother began crying. “It’s not the end of the world, he didn’t do anything with that boy, but I did intercept this and I had to let somebody know.” 

Full details of the video or chat logs of the situation were not released by DMV Ped Patrol, though the account owner did claim that evidence was turned in to the police. The video amassed a count of 8 million views on TikTok and 1.2 million likes as nearly 10,000 comments were left on the video in reaction to the situation, some from Mason students. 

Four days later on February 4, the account posted a second video titled “44-year-old man caught trying to meet 14-year-old boy at George Mason University”, where a man who was not a Mason student was invited by the account owner to come to campus containing 26,000 undergraduate students and children at the George Mason University Child Development Center (CDC), which lies on the border of campus near Rappahannock Deck. 

In the comments, the account owner posted their Cash App to ask for donations. “If you’d like to support us we accept cashapp donations $dmvp3dpatrol . EVERYTHING HELPS! Thank you!” 

Full details of the video and evidence were not released to the public the owner claimed that evidence was turned in to Mason PD.

The account owner, who identified themselves as Dee, responded to request for interview and shared their mission to help the community. Dee was later identified as a Mason student according to the Mason Police Department report log. 

“My name is Dee, I am an investigative journalist from the DMV Ped Patrol. We strive to protect the DMV youth by finding online predators preying on children. In most cases, but not all, we hand over our information to police so they can carry out the necessary action against these sick criminals. Our mission is to make the DMV a safer place for our children, and the future children to come.” Dee said.

“Our message to anyone who comes across our account—If you have children, we’re doing our best to protect them. If you’re a predator, we’re doing our best to catch you.”

“Dee” further explained the original viral TikTok and claimed to not have intimidated the suspect. “The person from the video reached out to our decoy and solicited nude photographs, sent crude images, and lured our decoy to the Center of Fine Arts building at GMU.” said Dee. 

“Once I arrived on scene, we approached the suspect and confirmed he was the same person from the chat (which he was) and proceeded with our interview to get his side of the story. We never intimidate our suspects and always treat them with respect. If at any time he wanted to leave, he was well within his right to.”

Members of Mason reacted to the account by weighing the costs and benefits of its actions. 

“I don’t think that situation should be handled through social media as most of time it is made to be a spectacle rather than fighting against pedophilia,” said sophomore Kar Kam.

 Most of the pedophile catchers are filming it more for clout than fixing the actual problem. Like other vigilante pedophile hunters, the person they lure out can’t be arrested as they are entrapping the person to a crime. He is making it worse as it gives other pedophiles hints to be more careful while also making the person, they caught not be charged most the time.”

Greenhouse Coordinator for President’s Park Hydroponic Greenhouse Lily Corwin believes that the account was not responsible in their actions and that law enforcement are a qualified option for the situation. “It was irresponsible and dangerous for all involved to have published that video on TikTok. I would advise anyone in this situation to pass along whatever suspicious behavior you may have noticed to organizations that are equipped to deal with predators like. Local police, or maybe the FB.” said Corwin

“There are appropriate ways to publish information like this. The sex offender registry is public, so if we can help collect evidence to pass to authorities, get the offender convicted and put on the registry, that is then public knowledge and were within the rights of the press to publish things.”

As of May 2023, no further videos from the organization have been posted.

The University Police Department offered a statement on the situation officially describing the two incidents. Mason PD was asked about the pending status of the cases.

“On February 2, 2023 Mason Police was made aware of TikTok and Instagram posts from “dmvp3dpatrol” that depicted an interaction between two subjects on the GMU Fairfax campus discussing previous electronic communications that made arrangements to meet an underage individual for sexual acts.” said Mason PD.

“An investigation was immediately launched and the individuals operating the “dmvp3dpatrol” accounts were quickly identified and found to be posing as an underage individual online utilizing a variety of decoy accounts. The individual depicted in the February 1, 2023, social media post was also identified. All parties involved were cooperative with the investigation. The case status was initially listed as “pending” on the Daily Crime & Fire Log as it was still being investigated. The case status has since been updated from pending to closed. Officially the case was closed with an exceptional clearance, meaning the case was handled through the GMU Office of Student Conduct and with the Office of the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney declining to prosecute based on the facts and available evidence in the case.”

“On February 3rd, 2023 Mason Police was contacted directly by the individuals operating the DMVp3dpatrol social media accounts who wished to report an additional incident involving electronic communications that made arrangements to meet an underage individual on the GMU Fairfax campus for sexual acts. Officers responded immediately, identified all involved parties, and thoroughly investigated the incident with the cooperation from all involved. This investigation has been cleared by arrest, with a criminal charge having been filed in the Fairfax County General District Court.”

Following the reports, Mason PD wrote an address to the public.

“Mason Police would like to thank the community members who brought the social media posts to our attention, which sparked our initial investigation.” said Mason PD.

“The accused is not affiliated with George Mason University. Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. In both cases, there was no continuing threat to the university or our community members on campus during these incidents. Through the course of both investigations, it is believed the GMU Fairfax campus was merely used as a public meeting place for the arrangements made online.”

Community members with questions about reported incidents on campus can refer to the Daily Crime & Fire Log for updated information, and may additionally report tips of criminal activity to their Crime Solvers Tip Program and the RAVE Guardian Mobile App.

Students with questions regarding the incident can additionally reach out to Sergeant Ryan Grant of the George Mason University Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 703-993-2810.


Thu, 04/05/2023 - 11:17am

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty


This September, the Black African Heritage and Caribbean Coalition (BLACC) initiated the “We Demand Action” campaign in response to a Mason Students for Life group that displayed a disturbing image of an African man in chains on a poster. The Students for Life group claimed they were conducting “pro-life outreach” yet others were offended by their comparison of slavery and abortion.

Following this incident, statements were released on social media from both BLACC and Students For Life. These statements triggered a visceral reaction from students engaging in heated dialogue on social media. 

Senior Solomon Fair shared his thoughts on the hypocrisy of Mason’s principles when it comes to advocacy. He believes that Mason students aren’t being educated appropriately about how to deal with racial discrimination.

“How are you gonna use our history and people for an issue that has nothing to do with the issue you’re advocating for? Now when I want to go to the dining hall I have to face that and look at my people in chains.” 

In the following weeks, BLACC also released a We Demand Action video, summarizing the recent events, calling for support from the Mason community and action from administration. These demands consisted of increased protection, meetings with senior administration, and necessary change.

Several weeks later, student leaders from several organizations had the opportunity to voice their concerns to university administration but still have yet to receive an adequate response, due mostly to what they feel is the administration’s lack of willingness to cooperate. 

Students were hopeful that as Mason’s first African American President, Dr. Gregory Washington would advocate for students of color. Fair explains that there has been a pattern of leadership that lacks the capacity to take action for these issues.

“That’s not really been the case” said Fair. “There was hesitation on how to handle things because we’ve seen the same cycle where each year the Black student population is sending in leadership to talk to administration about issues we are facing or lack of support and seeing very little change.” 

Despite making history and serving as a hopeful figure of representation, many feel that President Washington’s actions thus far have not proven him to be an ally to minority communities at Mason. 

Senior Emond Dash questioned the lack of action from university administration following the events in the fall. 

“I mean did you see any statement made by the president? Did you see anyone from the administrative core say anything about the Students For Life situation? Did anything get posted on the George Mason Twitter or Instagram? Was there a mass email that was pushed out? No.”  

Dash emphasized that presence and visibility are extremely important. 

“Even if they are having conversations amongst each other, that’s cool but that’s not what we asked for. We asked for actual action, we want things to actually happen and for this not to continue after we graduate.” 

Not only has there been a lack of response throughout the school year, but the recent announcement of Governor Glenn Youngkin as the spring 2023 commencement speaker left students feeling even more betrayed by administration. 

Despite the fact that Governor Youngkin has a reputation for racist policies and insensitive language, President Washington defended the decision to invite him to speak. 

Many students feel that Youngkin is a direct threat to marginalized groups and have taken action to oppose the administration’s decision. BLACC organized a protest on campus in hopes of sending a message to the board of visitors that Governor Youngkin is not welcome at Mason. 

President Washington was seemingly unphased by this display and encouraged students’ right to protest even if against a decision of his. 

The decision about the spring commencement has not changed and university administration has once again disappointed and ignored the requests of diverse student groups. “It doesn’t really add to this idea of inclusion, diversity and equity, the administration isn’t living by what you put out through your advertisements,” said Dash.  

Advocacy issues such as this have been a constant at Mason. Students and staff who have been taking action and facilitating resources to spread the message should be recognized. In order for Mason to stand by their belief in diversity, the actions of those trying to make change should no longer be ignored.

“If we talk about Mason being such a diverse place and Mason being such a game changer within society, shouldn’t we be the model school and be setting the standard for other schools on diversity like we claim to be doing?” said Fair.


Wed, 03/05/2023 - 4:38pm

Photo Courtesy of Anti-Defamation League, Statista

The United States and the Mason community are experiencing a rise in antisemitic incidents that are creating unsafe environments for the Jewish community.


Antisemitism is not a new concept that the Jewish community has been facing. The recent reawakening and spread of antisemitic behavior has led to an increase in violence and harassment in the modern day. Not only has the online sphere become a place for misinformation and harmful narratives, but real-life consequences are also affecting those in places they once felt at home. 

The growth of antisemitism in the U.S. has increased social tensions. According to the Associated Press, in the past year, the number of reported antisemitic incidents reached a  high of 2,717 incidents since 1979. The rise of hateful speech has circulated in forms of mass media and social media with the sources being from those of high influence.

Recently, there has been an increase in high-profile influencers expressing antisemitic ideologies on large-scale platforms. Rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, faced major backlash after tweeting harmful antisemitic messages to his 31.4 million followers. According to the Associated Press, Ye was banned from Twitter for a second time for the violation of Twitter’s rules against incitement of violence. Following leadership changes and motivated speech by influential figures, the platform saw a rise in hate speech, including racism and antisemitism, according to The New York Times

The political world is seeing an increase in the glorification of antisemitism. Political figures, such as former President Donald J. Trump, have been reported in the company of popular influencers that have been known to promote antisemitic and racist ideologies. According to the Associated Press, Trump attended dinner with activist Nick Fuentes and Rapper Ye, who are both known for promoting antisemitic and other forms of hateful speech.

According to the Gainesville Sun, the increase in antisemitic incidents has reached campuses all over the U.S., often repeating the ideologies of major influencers. Antisemitism and other hate crimes on campus are becoming a major issue in the U.S. 

According to Mason’s University policy, “freedom of expression is not incompatible with our commitment to diversity and to nurturing a positive and collaborative environment where everyone can thrive”. The Jewish community at Mason have expressed feeling troubled about the rise of antisemitism on campus through being a part of a community grown from the promise of diversity and inclusion. 

Mason Graduate, Daniel Frank, had been following the trend of antisemitism in the U.S. and at Mason. In a 2021 report, Frank reported data collected by the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish on Campus, former GMU Israeli Student Association president and former GMU Hillel Israel Connection Chair shows that “between 2016 and 2021, at least 85 separate antisemitic incidents have occurred on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University.”  

“It’s truly disheartening,” Frank said. “To see peers and influencers alike not only elevating that dangerous speech, but doubling down on it and amplifying the hate”.

According to an Instagram post by Jewish On Campus, Mason was ranked the sixth most reported school regarding antisemitic reports in 2020. Within these reports, Frank found that students have experienced harassment, bullying, physical assault, vandalism, and Nazism by fellow students, professors/faculty members, and other Mason affiliates.

Mason’s Jewish community has suffered many antisemitic incidents that have compromised the integrity of their comfort and safety on campus. While being the sixth most reported school in antisemitism, students had still expressed their apprehensiveness to report such incidents.

“It never should have been allowed to get to the place that it is now,” Frank said.

“Where over 60 incidents over five years have gone unreported out of fear of retaliation and out of feeling that the incident will not be taken seriously.”

Mason’s Student Government has made moves in a positive direction by passing a bill denouncing antisemitism in the U.S. On November 10th, 2022, the 43rd Student Senate passed a resolution to condemn the antisemitic attacks in the U.S. and “commits to supporting students of the Jewish faith’” on campus.

Secretary of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Zoe Winter, advocated for the passing of this resolution, expressing that the resolution is important for the Jewish community on George Mason’s campus.

Winter said that passing the bill would reassure Mason’s Jewish community that “at least someone was paying attention.”

According to NPR, harmful narratives about minority groups have increased over the past few years and are ultimately linked to an antisemitic trope. When civil unrest begins, people are often seen pointing the finger back at the Jewish community, further spreading antisemitism. 

Adjunct professor at Mason, Rabbi Aft, explains that the media helps make others aware of the unjust antisemitic acts, however, also allows “airtime to people who make comments that are antisemitic.”

Aft, along with other Mason affiliates, suggests that some of the best ways to combat antisemitism in the U.S. are by educating others about what antisemitism is.

“Education is key,” said Rabbi Aft. “There has to be systematic educational programs about all minorities.”

Members of the Jewish community at Mason have expressed concerns for the well-being of the community. The increase of antisemitism on campus and in the U.S. in the past few years has prompted individuals to speak out against injustice and propose resolutions and bills to protect the Jewish community from hateful behavior. 

“What Jewish students truly need is real action that leads to visible and measurable change on campus,” says Frank.

“The time is NOW for George Mason University to once again be a trendsetter this time in standing up for its Jewish population and Jewish community.”



Wed, 03/05/2023 - 11:09am

Z2B Photography/Tyler Begley


Recently, Patriots reeled at the news that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin was invited to speak at the commencement for the Class of 2023 this May. 

In a letter to university students and faculty, President Gregory Washington addressed the upset.

“It is my sincere hope that our students use this opportunity to share their stories, challenges and triumphs, ” Washington wrote. 

“And that the governor will hear their opinions, respectfully consider and reflect on them.” 

Students filled the Merten Hall Board of Visitors meeting on Tuesday, April 4, with President Washington to comment on the decision to include the polarizing governor, in spite of the tuition agenda that was scheduled for the meeting.

“Our students must prepare to inherit and lead a world with endless conflicts and divisions,” Washington wrote in the email. As a contemporary student who has been in the workforce in this county for 21 years now, this is so profoundly true. I have never had a job where I got along with every person I worked with. It does not seem possible. 

I can see both sides of the political opinion about Youngkin speaking. I come from a fundamentalist Christian family. I am also queer. It goes without saying how much of a wrench that can be in the turning gears of family relations.

I dated my current partner for six years before introducing them to my parents, which was a turning point for me. My parents will likely be glad to see Youngkin speak at my commencement and it is important to me that my parents enjoy this event. But, it is also important to me that I enjoy the event. My partner, like myself, feels the distress of Youngkin’s agenda as it relates to LGBTQIA+ issues.

If Youngkin’s policies and executive orders existed when I was a closeted teen, I guarantee my already difficult, but loving and fulfilling relationship with my parents would be far less possible. The policies our governor stands for are nothing short of barbaric. 

I also wanted to note his lack of popularity in this county. Youngkin won less than 35 percent of the vote in Fairfax County. 

You do not challenge students by inviting a speaker with an agenda of forcibly outing potentially closeted LGBTQIA+ students. You don’t challenge us by inviting a speaker who believes teaching accurate history in Virginia is somehow wrong. 

With this invitation, you challenge the integrity of our university’s stance on equity and inclusion. With this invitation, you challenge the location where commencement will be celebrated by many. I am challenged to walk out on Youngkin’s speech unless the university can provide an alternate speaker in another location at the same time, I believe he should feel disrupted, just as I feel like this is a disruption to our celebration.

The governor campaigned heavily on education reform. The Virginia Board of Education approved revised social science and history standards last week which relegate mentions of the gay rights movement to the eleventh grade, which for me would have been four years after I found out I was queer. 

I propose we challenge George Mason University to provide an alternative speaker to address students who choose not to stand for Youngkin taking up our space on our special day. I propose if we let Youngkin speak, we let him speak before less than 35 percent of the graduating class. And to the governor: please be respectful of the many seniors who choose a different way to celebrate our commencement during your speech.


Mon, 01/05/2023 - 1:28pm

Photo Courtesy of Sophia Nguyen

Student Body President Sophia Nguyen reflects on her administration, her travels to Japan and what the future holds for her.


Editors Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Why don’t you talk about the success of this year’s Mason Lobbies?

I’m so happy to be talking about it! I would say that out of all the events Student Government has hosted, this has been the most popular, but also the most necessary event we’ve had so far. We took a total of over 60 students down to Richmond to lobby for more funding for the university, which I think is very needed considering we have low wages for our teachers and for our janitorial staff. Overall, we just need more competitiveness towards our staff and faculty members, in my opinion. I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of higher pay, but I think this is necessary. Funding will be able to allow Mason more opportunities for more accessibility and more factors towards expanding the university as well. 

How’s the status of Student Government and your administration? I know one of your big initiatives was a lot of outreach and making sure that students know what Student Government does for them. Do you think you’ve been successful in that?

We’ve been really successful with partnering with student organizations. With this upcoming farmer’s market, it be a huge event, where we will be partnering with sustainable organizations, cultural organizations, and just all of that. So, I’m really excited for that partnership.

We also had our women’s history panel today, which we partnered with CCE and the Center for Wellbeing, but also women-based organizations on campus.

I think in general this year we were happy to receive a lot of interest in Student Government, especially students who were involved in student organizations. I think that really did bridge the gap between the disconnect that we had in previous years, it’s been really successful.

Do you think that the Student Senate has been successful with the bills they’ve been passing?

I would say that we have been more proactive. Most recently, we passed a resolution to support Turkish and Syrian students impacted by the earthquake. We partnered with the Brazilian Student Association and they had created a fundraiser. And, we supported them by stating in this resolution that we would help promote the fundraiser, but also help the Brazilian Student Association’s initiatives to bring support to the students as well. 

We have definitely been more proactive in the international conflicts that are affecting our international students, but also students who resonate from those countries. I really like that we’re being active in that and not just solely focusing on domestic issues that are happening. I think all issues impact our students.

So let’s talk about what you were doing in Japan?

I could talk about it for hours! I visited Japan to study US-Japan diplomatic relations. It was hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Students (APAICS) and the Japanese International Cooperation Center. I was invited to attend, along with 18 other Asian-American students. It was a really great time and we were able to visit Tokyo, where we were met by the Deputy Chief to the Prime Minister, but also a Foreign Service Officer, where we visited the Foreign Ministry. It was really great, despite the language barriers of course, but obviously, the translator helped both sides and we were able to grasp a sense of knowledge on specific issues that Japan has been facing.

What has been your situation with harassment by this “Joey” individual?

One day I was approached by this white male who had started the conversation by flirting with me and ended the conversation by saying extremely inappropriate and racist things towards me. Basically saying that all Asians eat cats and dogs. I’ve been working with Mason PD to identify the person. However, to identify the person, I needed to get his name. I heard that he was spotted around campus near Horizon Hall approaching women, especially women of color, with inappropriate questions. So I finally have gotten his name, and his name is “Joey P”. I would just like to urge everyone to be wary of him and if you do become approached by him to call Mason PD immediately and take a picture of him. I was told that today, he was wearing a green flannel and a black jacket, the same jacket he was wearing when he harassed me.

What do you want the lasting legacy of the Nguyen-Apenteng administration to be at Mason?

For my lasting impression of our administration, I would like people to know that we rebuilt it from the bottom up. I think we came into this position not really knowing what we should do and we weren’t really given too much direction. 

We have attracted students who are genuinely interested in making a change on campus. I think when a lot of people think of Student Government, they think, “Oh, they’re doing it for the resume, they don’t really care.” But I think for the students that we’ve had in our administration, I’ve seen a lot of growth in our leadership, I’ve seen a lot of passion and involvement toward our other student groups on campus and just a passion for making GMU better. But also, having students who have an amplified voice when it comes to Mason’s administration and they’re not afraid to tell them what’s up, I really love that.

Where can we expect to find you in the future?

I’m starting my graduate studies this fall at Mason, so I will be here. I’m hoping to be more involved in my AAPI advocacy. You will also find me in Fenwick Library, studying and trying to finish my graduate studies.


Mon, 24/04/2023 - 1:09pm

Fourth Estate/Erica Munisar

Students share experiences of undercooked meat, bugs, bolts and food poisoning from dining halls.


According to Mason Dining, their mission statement is as follows. “Mason Dining is committed to bringing you the excellence and value you expect. Delicious meals and on trend food experiences that where students and faculty are nourished and inspired to climb higher and to keep rising. Not just a beautiful place to study, but a beautiful place to sit and enjoy food together.” 

However, numerous students have alleged experiences of being served undercooked meat, which further led food poisoning among consumers.

Senior Asra Abbas has suffered from food poisoning at the Mason dining halls and alleges witnessing cross-contamination as well as uncleaned dishes.

“I had high expectations for the dining halls at GMU. The quality of the food was subpar, and I was not satisfied with the service either. The food was cold, hard and some items were even undercooked. I have observed undercooked food being served at the dining hall in GMU on several occasions. In my personal experience, consuming such food has caused me severe stomach pain that left me traumatized from the dining hall. I know several others who have gotten ill by eating at the GMU dining hall.” 

“I have also witnessed several occasions where cross-contamination was happening between the meats and same spoons were being used. The dishes and utensils provided to us are not properly cleaned, leaving students with no choice but to eat from unclean plates.”

“It is like a lawsuit waiting to happen.” 

Senior Cameron Hoagland eats at Southside often and claims he has suffered constant food poisoning. 

“Southside has constituted the most of my experiences with Mason’s dining halls. When it comes to the chicken at Southside, I haven’t encountered any raw chicken in my plate, unlike some other people from the reports I’ve heard of regarding undercooked chicken being served in the dining halls. I believe I have suffered from food poisoning. About every week or two I get diarrhea, which I assume came from eating at Southside, which I then have to treat with medicine.” 

Junior Ben Gallimore alleged experiences of eating undercooked meat while adding on concerns of mislabeled allergens, citing a life-threatening encounter that caused him to abandon his dining plan in Spring 2022. 

“Last spring I got food from Grab-And-Go at Southside. The box was labeled as some kind of steak, but when I brought it back to my dorm and opened it I discovered it was chicken pesto. For most people that is not a big deal, but I have a severe allergy to all nuts to the point that even skin contact with nuts can trigger an anaphylactic reaction, which is life-threatening without immediate medical attention. Thankfully none of the pesto touched my skin, and I threw out the food shortly after. Needless to say, I have never used Grab-And-Go since.” 

“I also stopped eating at Southside entirely after I got food poisoning from undercooked chicken.”

On April 17, sophomore Helron Zheng found a metal bolt in his popcorn.

“On my way out of Southside, I grabbed a bag of popcorn to snack on. While I was pouring it down my mouth, I noticed a taste of metal so I stopped pouring and looked into the bag and noticed that I saw something weird. When I moved the popcorn around, I found a bolt in my bag about the size of a fingernail. I started feeling unwell for a while so I was on the phone with a after hours nurse (the clinic was closed). After the call, I immediately went back to Southside to report it to a manager to make sure nobody else ate something like that in the food.” said Zheng.

Freshman Jack Samuel also found a caterpillar in the salad last semester.

“A friend of mine noticed a small green ball in their salad. I thought it was a curled-up leaf at first but after uncurling it I was pretty surprised to find an actual caterpillar. I don’t blame anyone for it being there, it was small and hard to miss, but I’m definitely not getting a salad from any of the dining halls anytime soon.”

Freshman Spencer Wilde complains of finding hair in food multiple times. “I have often found hair in my food while at Southside in the rice, in the yogurt and in the salad. Not only is it gross, but it is also a health concern.” 

In the past year, more Mason students have taken to social media to express their concerns about undercooked food from dining halls.

One Reddit post compared the dining halls, claiming “I’ve also not seen raw meat at the Globe and I have experienced that multiple times at Southside.” said /u/ Mrstarkinevrfeelgood.

In another post, one user commented “Southside constantly serves undercooked meat, unlabeled allergens, and is generally never clean, especially during peak times–it’s a mess.” said /u/ solarsaurus.

In a third post, a student claimed they found a rock in their soup at Southside.

General Manager Jenita Thurston responded on the behalf of Mason Dining regarding complaints from students.

“All of our employees receive regular training and instruction about food safety. Our supervisors and managers receive additional training on food safety and ensure all protocols are being properly followed. Our dining locations regularly undergo safety audits by internal teams and health department inspections, as well as unannounced, third-party food and physical safety audits to ensure our food and facilities are safe. Additionally, we only use the highest quality USDA-rated food products.” said Thurston.

“Good hygiene is one of the cornerstones of safety training that our employees receive. This includes personal hygiene such as frequent hand-washing, glove use, hair nets, and clean uniforms; as well as proper food handling procedures, such as avoiding cross-contamination during storage, preparation and cooking.”

Thurston says dining staff follows procedures to ensure food is cooked.

“Knowing the risks of ingesting meats that are undercooked, we take several measures to prevent this from happening. Our dining employees follow stringent government-regulated food safety procedures, including monitoring food temperature during cooking, holding and serving.” said Thurston. 

“Ensuring meat is initially cooked to the proper temperature is the first step to ensure food is not undercooked. Color of meat cannot be relied upon as a measure to tell if the food is fully cooked. Sometimes items like chicken thighs will appear pink, even though they are fully cooked. This is due to naturally occurring pigments and/or proteins that may appear red even when the meat or poultry is fully cooked.”

Regarding allergens, Thurston offered resources for students and emphasizedproper labeling. “We make every effort to ensure food is labeled properly and includes identification of any potential allergens. We encourage diners to check nutrition labels and use the Everyday app to see ingredients and allergens. If diners are ever unsure, our team can help clear up any confusion by sharing recipes to show which ingredients are used in a dish.” said Thurston. “

We understand how difficult eating with allergies can be, which is why we offer our Simple Servings stations and Simple Zone to give students dining with allergies peace of mind that the food they are eating is safe. These locations are the only places where we can ensure that there is no cross-contamination with the top eight most common food allergens. We are also working on eliminating serving foods that contain nuts in residential dining halls.”

Mason Dining encourages students to offer feedback.

“The best way for diners to give feedback is to bring us any concerns you have right away. We want to know if there is an issue and make it right, immediately, to ensure everyone is safe. It becomes much more difficult to address an issue after someone has left the dining location and the food is no longer present.” said Thurston.

Students can text tellSouthSide, tellikes, or tellTheGlobe to 82257 to utilize the MyDtxt service. Faculty will respond back as they have added a ramen bar and iced coffee in the past after student requests were made.

Mason Dining can also be reached at, their contact form, or speak to faculty in person.

Students can also attend Student Culinary Council meetings and offer ideas to Mason Dining Managers.

Mason Dining has implemented recent initiatives to improve dining quality for students such as halal meats, Kosher options, vegan/grain bars, spice stations, expanded late-night options for Ikes Dining Hall, expanded allergen-friendly options and Future 50 Foods stations for plant-based diets and sustainability. 

Mason Dining has offered inclusive meal options for religious students in the past.

“We also strive to accommodate religious observances: we provided fish dishes on Fridays during Lent and held Easter brunches and an Easter dinner; our dining halls had hot kosher meals, matzah, whole fruit and macaroons during Passover; and we ensured that all the dining halls had halal meat and dried Medjool dates, and well as extending hours at several locations, to make sure those observing Ramadan had access to appropriate meals after sunset and before sunrise.” said Thurston.

“Our unwavering mission is to provide our diners with the best and safest dining experience possible.”


Fri, 21/04/2023 - 3:57pm

Photo Courtesy of Zayd Hamid

Students attend Tuition Town Hall.


Mason has proposed a tuition recommendation of a flat $300 increase regardless of student level or residency and a 3% increase in mandatory student fees for the 2024 fiscal year. The funding allocation is undetermined. 

The proposal follows challenges to maintain delivering quality education following a need for competitive compensation, inflation impacts on facility costs and rapid university student growth. Mason currently holds a lower tuition than schools such as William & Mary, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.

On March 21, a Tuition Town Hall was presented by Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Deb Dickenson and Vice President of University Life Rose Pascarell. Students were invited to attend and ask questions in order to encourage dialogue about tuition cost. The Tuition Town Hall was organized by Mason Student Government after they held a previous Town Hall in Fall 2022.

Dickenson touched on Mason’s growth and believed they may become the largest institution in Virginia post-pandemic. “We are approaching 40,000 students that will continue to grow from there. We’re projecting in over a five-year period we will get to approximately 45,000 students, and that’s an amazing achievement. We will, from my perspective, continue to be the largest scientific university and most diverse university in Virginia.” 

Dickenson mentioned that inflation is an impacting factor in tuition raise. “We know that everyone experiences inflation, so does the university. Our contract costs are up more than 13%. On janitorial alone, it has almost doubled in a two-year period. Part of that is market competition and rates. We’re seeing similar increases so we do have to cover that to keep the university operating.”

The tuition raise helps efforts to provide faculty at Mason a competitive pay similar to other Virginia universities to ensure that faculty are retained and do not make lower than the cost of living. “Compensation is a big part of our budgets, and that’s funded primarily by tuition increases. The state funds only a portion of that salary increase, so we still have to recover that investment,” said Dickenson. 

“Because of the market competition we’re having, we’re facing to retain faculty and staff and pay the competitive compensation level. We did do some targeted increases this year in addition to the merit increase. That was done to retain critical faculty and staff, and also to help our staff and faculty within the university who are making a level below an appropriate cost of living and trying to recognize that they need some additional help.”

Pascarell says that the tuition raise can benefit students and the quality of education. “Tuition supports a lot of things. Coaching and advising is one area that we’re focused on. We’re seeing incredible increases in the need for mental health resources across the country for students in high school and in college, and so we spent a lot of time focusing on how to provide increased mental health and well-being services for students on our campus. If you’ve been in Arlington lately, Mason Square is dramatically expanding and so providing services and transportation to Arlington is also one of the ways that tuition supports.”

“We’re looking at things like the faculty-student class ratio. The whole area of enhanced workforce development is really important—How do we take some of that tuition money and increase the number of on-campus jobs available to students and increase the amount of career support?”

Pascarell says Mason prioritizes helping low-income students while looking at a tuition raise.

“As we think about Mason’s commitment to access, it’s not just welcoming people, but it’s having our students be able to stay here and be able to afford to stay here through graduation. We’re thinking about affordability. What we know is through state grants, federal grants, and Mason aid including emergency funding, that we’re able to supplement the cost of tuition and fees with enough financial aid so that students in the lowest income levels don’t have to pay tuition and fees. Increasing financial aid has been a major priority, as we’ve worked with the administrations in Richmond, the General Assembly and the Senate.” 

“Again, all of this impacts your ability to be successful. The goal is not just to get you through that but to get you through to whatever the next phase of your life will be in a successful way.” 

The tuition proposal was presented to the Board of Visitors meeting on April 4 and will be further discussed in May’s meeting.