WEB EXCLUSIVE: Foggy Bottom shuts down for protests

Posted 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6- GW will cancel classes and evacuate residence halls Sept. 27 to Oct. 2 during anticipated demonstrations surrounding World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings that will be held that weekend, the University announced this morning.

Although the meetings are scheduled for Sept. 29-30, GW’s Foggy Bottom campus will close for five days because of the large number of protesters anticipated. D.C. officials expect as many as 100,000 visitors and protesters that weekend.

IMF and World Bank officials originally planned a five-day conference but cut it to two days to minimize the impact of the expected protests.

“The challenge here is you’ve got a huge amount of protesters forecasted and you’ve got barricades through campus,” said Director of University Relations Gretchen King. “It would be extremely difficult to continue operating on any normal basis at all.”

No classes will be held and all facilities, including residence halls, will be closed at the Foggy Bottom campus, according to a press release from University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. The Mount Vernon campus will remain open but no classes will be held there during this period.

Students should go home, stay with friends off campus or at Mount Vernon during the scheduled closure, King said.

“It’s a good recommendation to go home, and we’re going to be working with people who can’t do that,” she said. “It’s a challenge and we’re looking for students to help us get through this event.”

GW will move the Mount Vernon campus shuttle stop off the Foggy Bottom campus, King said.

Classes will not begin after 4 p.m. Sept. 27 and all campus buildings will be locked by 8 p.m. that day. Classes beginning before 4 p.m. will continue until their scheduled conclusion.

Residence halls will re-open at 11 a.m. Oct. 2 and classes will resume at 4 p.m. that day.

The University will also heighten security in all GW buildings beginning Sept. 21, according to the press release. Students and staff will be required to show GWorld cards at the entrances to all residence halls and University buildings, and will not be allowed to host overnight guests who are non-GW students until 12 p.m. Oct. 5.

King said GW is using all means of communication to inform students and staff about the closure. Information is also available on the GW Web site at http://www.gwu.edu/imf.html or by calling the GW information line, 994-5050.

The University has also mailed letters to the parents of undergraduates outlining the closure plan, according to the press release. GW announced this decision after press time for Thursday’s edition of The Hatchet.

Protests during the 2000 World Bank and IMF meetings drew an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 demonstrators to the Foggy Bottom area, and cancelled GW classes for one day.

King said the larger number of protesters expected prompted Metropolitan Police to suggest GW close during the meetings this year.

“This certainly was not a knee-jerk reaction,” King said, adding that GW has “hundreds” of people working on the University-wide plan. “These decisions have not been taken lightly.”

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