GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is considering returning to a normal class schedule Sept. 27 to Oct. 2 if World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings are cancelled.
The Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor Anthony Williams asked the IMF and World Bank to postpone or cancel the meetings scheduled for the end of the month after the terrorist attacks Tuesday in New York City and near D.C.
Trachtenberg said he closed campus because there was a safety threat from anticipated demonstrations that the city estimates will draw 100,000 protesters.
“There was a reason for canceling classes, and if that reason is gone, the University will not be able to justify giving people who are able to stay here a five-day vacation,” Trachtenberg said. “We are not a feather in the wind of circumstance.”
If GW re-opened class, Trachtenberg said students who purchased tickets and made travel plans are adults and would have to make the decision to miss class and go on a trip or get the tickets changed and attend class.
Trachtenberg also said the University would “endeavor to advocate the travel changes in the event of a cancellation” to help students get their money back or change flight dates.
“Chief Ramsey has strongly recommended that they do not conduct the meetings as a result of the Pentagon and World Trade Center crises,” Metropolitan Police Sgt. Joe Gentile said.
The World Bank and IMF have not reached an agreement whether to continue the meeting but are expected to announce a decision within a week.
“That is the debate that has been brought out and right now who knows what is going to happen,” World Bank spokesman Stevan Jackson said. “Chief Ramsey has requested that the meetings be postponed.”
Organizations who planned to protest must now decide whether to follow through with protest plans in the wake of the recent terror. But for many Americans who are coping with the aftermath of a serious attack, few people said they are thinking that far ahead.
“Our thoughts and prayers were with victims of the attacks and the protests are not our main concern,” said a representative from the Mobilization for Global Justice, a local organization.
Other groups that planned to protest shared similar views.
“We are all just taking deep breaths right now,” said Soren Ambrose, a member of the 50 Years is Enough Network. “Some meetings concerning the protests have been considered for later in the week, but right now we don’t know.”
GW Action Coalition member Naina Dhingra declined to offer her position on the protests in consideration of Tuesday’s tragedy.
Many students said they strongly oppose the possibility of returning to a normal schedule if the meetings are cancelled.
“I have a non-refundable ticket to Houston and am planning to go,” junior Corinne Knudsen said. “Others are not going to change extensive travel plans after the University stressed that we need to leave.”
“The University is definitely going to be put in an awkward situation if the meetings get cancelled,” freshman Hally Starr said. “They made it seem like a real urgency (to leave D.C.).”