AY 2020-21, Issue XVII | February 5, 2021

Distinguished professor James A. Thurber speaks with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., over Zoom.
Screenshot from Facebook
This is the latest edition of our newsletter covering our work from Jan. 29 to Feb 4. To read any of these stories and more, check out our main website or our coronavirus website, which covers news related to the pandemic. 

By: Isabel Wolff (iwolff@theeagleonline.com)
COVID-19 Update:

  • The University has relaunched its COVID-19 case tracker for the spring semester. On Feb. 1, 12 cases were reported by the University. Ten of these cases were reported from students living off-campus, and two of the cases were from faculty and staff. No cases were reported among students living on campus. The University reported a .75 percent test positivity rate for the first week of the semester that it published data. 

The Eagle Explains: DEI's Efforts and Plans
By: Gabriel Ferris, Community Outreach Director (gferris@theeagleonline.com)

As the director of community outreach, it’s my job to ensure that The Eagle is transparent in our efforts to improve coverage of marginalized communities on American University’s campus. I’d like to share what the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group has done and what the group’s plans are for the spring.

Led by Editor-in-Chief Sophie Austin, the DEI group’s meetings cover topics ranging from potential workshops and trainings for staff, to ideas for internal changes at The Eagle. In the fall, for example, the DEI group focused on changing The Eagle’s recruitment strategy in two main ways:

First, the recruitment process began much earlier than usual so that Eagle staffers could contact as many students as possible. The application window was also adjusted to provide applicants with more time to submit their applications. Second, the staff intake form was updated to ascertain more comprehensive data about Eagle staffers. As I reported earlier this week, The Eagle now has a younger and more racially diverse staff than in the fall following our efforts.

Despite this, we know that a diverse staff should not be the summation of our efforts. Obtaining more comprehensive data was just part of what we needed to do, and our coverage still must be diverse, equitable and inclusive. We must fill gaps in our coverage, education and understanding by leveraging and putting some of our recruitment and internal reporting information efforts to use. For this reason, the DEI group will host various presentations this semester for staffers that range from ethics and law, to best practices for reporting on marginalized groups and identities

Following Sophie’s lead, the DEI group also spearheaded an effort to publish Spanish articles on The Eagle’s website, including the first one, which was published just a few days ago. DEI members are now in the process of reviewing The Eagle’s Style Sheet for anything that may prevent us from upholding the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, as well as unconscious bias.

We have a lot more work to do, so the DEI group — and The Eagle as a whole — will keep working to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in both our coverage and newsroom.

We’re committed to being transparent, and I encourage you to read the updates I write after each of our DEI meetings.


  • AU has announced new details for on-campus housing for the 2021-2022 academic year. The plan includes Black Affinity Housing as well as guaranteed housing for sophomores who meet the application deadline.

  • President Sylvia Burwell announced in an email on Monday that the University will move forward with full residential options for the fall, with on-campus housing room selection beginning next week.

  • In the first event of the James A. Thurber Dialogues on American Democracy, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) talked about his hopes and fears for the country. Booker discussed issues that would help improve the lives of Americans, such as increasing the federal minimum wage and building infrastructure.

  • Writer, artist and sexual assault survivor Tim Mousseau spoke at an event hosted by AU's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the Interfraternity Council last Thursday in hopes of facilitating open conversations about sexual violence within Greek life organizations.

  • AU senior Alexis de Silva will be the first ROTC cadet from D.C. to join the U.S. Space Force. De Silva will graduate in 2022 and then join the Space Force as an intelligence officer.


  • Silver Screen writer Olivia Kozlevcar notes that Robin Wright is a force to be reckoned with in both her performance and direction of “Land,” a film about finding existential meaning through human connection.

  • Seniors in AU's theatre and musical theater programs performed their capstone virtually on Jan. 22 and 23. The project, titled ‘A Call for a New Federal Theatre Project,' looked at theater throughout history and featured original pieces from students.

  • With students seeking a sense of connection, club leaders reflected on the challenges of running their organizations virtually and how they hope to improve for this semester.

  • The (Com)Post: AU students and faculty share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's executive orders and announcements addressing climate change.

  • Tristan Au writes that while Mike Cahill's “Bliss” holds strong visual effects, a convoluted script and lackluster acting leave much to be desired from the utopian romance film.

  • D.C. has an amazing variety of restaurants, but it can be hard to find cheap eats for students on a budget. Here's a list of some of the best local spots to get a great meal for under $10.


  • Both the men’s and women’s basketball games against Lafayette for Jan. 30 and 31 were postponed. The games will be rescheduled for a later date. Since the publication of the article, six more games have been postponed, resulting in 16 postponements for The Eagles this season.

  • Senior volleyball player Helena Elbaek discusses the pandemic’s impact on her season and how the team is preparing for its upcoming games.


  • Our latest staff editorial: "If the University hopes to host a successful mid-semester experience for a group of students, it must radically increase its advertisement of testing procedures and consider expanding testing times."


  • In our latest episode of Beyond the Byline, Rebeka Rafi spoke to students about their thoughts on the Capitol riots and the inauguration. A direct link to the episode on Spotify can be found here.

  • In the second episode of The Eagle's noteworthy podcast, host Clare Mulroy spoke to AU junior Ben Roter about his band, Quarters of Change. A direct link to the episode on Spotify can be found here.

  • To hear more from Helena Elbaek, and more about how AU’s volleyball team is preparing for their upcoming games, listen to the latest episode of Angle on the Eagles. A direct link to the episode on Spotify can be found here.

  • Life staff writer Sara Winick put together a playlist to help you start off the new year right. From Foo Fighters to Beyoncé, here are some songs for an enjoyable start to the year. A direct link to Sara's Spotify playlist can be found here.

El Águila:

¡Nuestro primer artículo en español!

  • Para nuestra serie de “Comfort Foods,” Melissa Howell, escritora de Life, habla del tipo de pan dulce mexicano que representa un recuerdo de su hogar. Aunque ella no tuvo muchas oportunidades de viajar a México durante la pandemia, descubrió que estaba conociendo su hogar de otra forma haciendo sus propias conchas.