AY 2020-21, Issue VII | October 17, 2020
 Dr. Fauci joins AU President Sylvia Burwell for a virtual discussion
Courtesy of Alisha Chhangani
This is the latest edition of our newsletter covering our work from Oct. 10 to Oct 16. To read any of these stories and more, check out our website or our coronavirus website, which covers news related to the pandemic. 

The Eagle has released our first DEI Update. In this first report, we share the steps we've taken so far this fall semester and our aggregate data collected to track the diversity of our staff in the summer and fall. We will be posting bimonthly updates. 

By: Isabel Wolff
Top Stories:

  • In an email sent to the American University community on Oct.12, President Sylvia Burwell announced that there will be an update regarding the operating status for the spring semester by the end of the month.

  • AU's Faculty Senate voted on Oct. 14, to allow undergraduate and graduate students to take one course on a pass/fail basis for both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, including courses that are major/minor requirements. 

  • Many freshmen from schools around the District are opting to live in hotels this semester in an attempt to have some college normalcy, prompting some concerns over supervision and support.

  • As of Oct. 12, there are now 26 COVID-19 cases reported by the University for the fall semester. This is up one case from last week's reporting.

The Eagle Explains: Opinion's role at The Eagle
By: Samantha McAllister, Opinion Managing Editor

In my role as opinion managing editor, which I previously held in Fall 2019, one of my important tasks is writing our nearly weekly staff editorial. As a member of The Eagle, since the fall of my freshman year, I slowly grew into this role and understanding of what makes a staff editorial. The content of the editorials can vary, from showing solidarity with student-athlete initiatives to our more recent editorial on a discrimination lawsuit against the University. With the change to online, we have had to do things a little differently, but the heart of the process is the same: listening to my fellow staffers, to what they are and aren’t saying.

In normal circumstances, the staff editorial was voted on the night of our all-staff meeting, otherwise known as our weekly “ed-board” meeting. Now, we send a Google form taking a poll that staffers have more than 24 hours to vote on. The stories all come from the previous week’s published news, life and sports stories. The staff also usually has the option to vote on no editorial for the week, although we avoid doing so almost every week. After voting, the writer of the story gives a brief description for those who may not have read it, and then the floor is opened for questions. Then, the editorializing happens and staff members have the opportunity to give their opinions about the issues featured in the story. What is most important to me about this process is that for everyone not on our Opinion staff, opportunities to voice opinions on campus happenings are limited. The Eagle Ethics Code ensures that student reporters do not insert their opinions on campus and AU life into their non-opinion reporting. The staff editorial is their moment to make their feelings clear and for me to capture those feelings. It is more than just writing exactly what staffers say into a cohesive argument; I strive to capture what they’re feeling in those words, the things that maybe aren’t explicitly said, but are still important in expressing our staff’s opinion.

Sometimes these conversations are difficult, as our role is not to speculate or provide any misleading information. Sometimes we have to make difficult ethical decisions, for example in the most recent editorial we chose, as a staff, not to name the student who filed the discrimination lawsuit in an effort to minimize further harm to that student’s future. Having one’s name in the public domain is a challenge, especially for something that the student has expressed was embarrassing and difficult, so we decided that we would not contribute to the Google hits when you search that student’s name. 

Crafting focused and coherent arguments based on the voices of over 30 people almost every week can be challenging. But the value in these editorials, and the honor I have to be a voice for our staff outweighs any other frustrations.


  • AU Sunrise Movement activists joined demonstrators from George Washington University and D.C. Sunrise hubs outside of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s residence on Sept. 17 to protest her response to the California wildfires and advocate for the Green New Deal. 

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Sylvia Burwell spoke about a lack of trust in science, the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic and President Donald Trump's recent COVID-19 infection in a virtual conversation on Oct. 6 hosted by the Kennedy Political Union.  

  • President Sylvia Burwell spoke at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Oct. 8 to discuss a recent report on how to improve pandemic preparedness. 

  • AU alum and former SG President Sarah McBride is set to become a Delaware state senator, which would make her the first openly transgender state senator in the U.S. “I’m running to make a difference in my community,” McBride says. 

  • The Class of 2024's first semester of college online means that the new freshmen are meeting each other and becoming acclimated to AU entirely onlinefrom Zoom to social media to virtual clubs and beyond.
  • The University’s Department of Neuroscience provides students with new opportunities, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Update from our story posted on Oct. 1: Lawyers for three students suing the University for tuition and fee refunds from the online portion of the spring semester asked a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to deny AU’s Sept. 30 motion to dismiss.


  • Wondering how to take the best-looking pictures of your favorite foods? Check out some ‘Phone Eats First’ tips from our collaboration with Spoon AU. 

  • LGBTQ+ Activist Spotlight: Senior Alexis Arrington's web series “Everyone’s Gay: A Look into Queer History” uses short, educational videos, exploring the powerful stories of LGBTQ+ icons across the decades.


  • Senior field hockey player Noor Coenen reflects on her AU successes, including becoming only one of nine AU players in program history to have over 100 points in her career. 

  • Samantha Margot writes: "Addressing and referring to women in power by their first names is a bad habit we need to kick. No matter how unconscious it is, denying women, especially female politicians, the use of their surnames undermines their prominence and implies that women are undeserving of their recognition."

  • The Seagle writes: “‘I just didn’t know there were other conservative students who go to AU,’ said Cartwright, unmuting himself so the entire class could hear his revelation. ‘I know the College Republicans have a chapter, but I just assumed it was run by ghosts.’”