The year in the news

Students react to chaotic fall

While students were preoccupied with the first couple weeks of classes and getting accustomed to the school year on Sept. 11, the University community was stunned by the attacks which hit the World Trade Center and, more closely, the Pentagon.

Viewable from most buildings on campus, smoke from a smoldering Pentagon expanded across the Potomac River in the warm Tuesday morning, giving GW students a unique perspective on Sept. 11.

Up until the attacks, students were also making travel plans or protesting GW’s decision to close residence halls and cancel classes for protests scheduled around World Bank meetings in late September. More than 100,000 protesters were expected near campus, but World Bank officials decided to postpone the Sept. 27-Oct. 1 meetings after the terrorist attacks.

GW subsequently went back on its decision to close residence halls, but students still received a five-day break from classes that weekend.

Students witnessed heightened security procedures all over the city as national monuments closed, hum-vees drove through campus and military helicopters flew overhead throughout September.

CNN’s Crossfire also came to campus for two weeks for its first long-term stay at GW with 10 shows before a student studio audience. Producers said the shows were so successful, they decided to return to GW permanently in the spring.

As students attempted to return to campus life, an anthrax scare took over the city. The biological agent was found in D.C.’s main postal facility and Capitol Hill buildings where many students intern.

Campus mail facilities tested negative for anthrax, but delays in city handling and new on-campus handling procedures backed up mail delivery for weeks while other students were given a months vacation or permanent leave from congressional internships.

Hundreds of students were tested for anthrax exposure at GW Hospital and a number of students were prescribed Cipro, an antibiotic which prevents infection in case of anthrax exposure.

Marvin Center stabbing shocks community

Marvin Center construction worker Clifford Williams was arrested for allegedly stabbing another worker Feb. 21 in what GW officials called an “isolated” event. Williams was charged with assault and intent to kill, crimes that could mean two to 15 years in prison.

The victim, whose name was withheld because he is considered a key witness to the investigation, was stabbed in the chest and in “grave condition” at the GW Hospital following the incident, Metropolitan Police Sgt. Michael Farish said.

Farish said MPD arrested Williams after he fled the scene in a van.

According to police and University reports, the victim sought help from a University Police officer in the basement after being wounded. Dolores Stafford, director of UPD, said the officer called an ambulance.

Pools of blood were found in the basement but were cleared after forensic evidence was taken.

Although the two workers were supposedly arguing about a coat, Associate Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said he believes “there’s got to be more than just arguing over a coat (involved).”

Officials said no incidents of this scale of violence have occurred on campus before and students shouldn’t worry.

“We have certainly been given no information from the police that there is any kind of danger to the GW community,” Media Director Gretchen King said.

She added that the incident involved two men who are not “members of the GW community.”

-compiled from staff reports

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