Two female students walking through the Quad were robbed a little past midnight June 30. The students, one freshman attending Colonial Inauguration session four and one senior, were approached by two men unaffiliated with the University while crossing campus.
The men demanded and took cash from the students, and then fled in a vehicle driven by two other men. One of the robbers carried a gun, but no one was harmed. The freshman declined to comment, and the senior was unavailable for comment.
According to University Police, the incident was one of four in a spree of robberies that occurred in a 30-minute period around the District. The other episodes took place in Georgetown, 26th and Olive streets and at 20th and K streets.
UPD posted Crime Alert posters around campus the following morning, giving information about the incident and crime prevention tips.
Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said the robbery was “discussed openly” during CI small group meetings for parents and students. Chernak said UPD would review surveillance tapes of the Quad and Marvin Center, where there were reports of suspicious people walking around the building.
Chernak said the University followed normal procedures after the event, and didn’t do anything differently because it occurred during CI.
“The best part is no one was hurt,” he said.
The subjects who approached the two students were described as black males, about 150 lbs. and approximately 5’10” in height. Both men in the vehicle were also described as black males, and all four men were 20 to 25 years of age. They drove a silver or gray Ford Mustang Coup.
The Metropolitan Police Department, also investigating the incident, stopped several cars of that description on the night of the robberies but MPD did not make any arrests.
Chernak said there was “not an unnecessary amount of concern” among parents or students attending CI.
“I just think the area should be better lit, and I’m hoping the University looks into lighting the area,” said Brynne Ritvo, whose daughter Amanda attended CI.
“We were just a bit surprised because of how safe the whole area seems,” said Hal Ritvo, Amanda’s father.
Others attending CI said the incident instilled fear in them, and they hope students are taking advantage of GW’s safety services.
“I’m very concerned (about the robbery),” said parent Kathleen Hall-Goldner. “I even asked my small group leader if kids are using the 4-RIDE and that it’s not a ‘dorky’ thing to do. It was a very scary incident.”
CI Cabinet Member Travis Geraci said all of the Cabinet members spoke to their small groups and presented the facts provided by UPD’s Crime Alert. He said many Cabinet members used the incident to segue into their discussions about crime and safety around campus.
“Students always feel like it’s a ‘it’ll never happen to me’ sort of thing,” Geraci said. “But this gave students a very realistic scenario.”
CI director and Headquarters staff declined to comment on the situation.
“My group leader was really informative,” freshman Dipti Vaid said. “They were all great about it and didn’t scare us or anything.”
Several other incoming freshmen and parents said they were pleased by the Cabinet’s straightforwardness about the situation.