Security measures implemented in the wake of August’s terrorism alert may disrupt move-in for some students and parents, who will be prevented from parking near certain residence halls. But GW officials said they remain confident that move-in, which begins Aug. 28, will go smoothly.
After intelligence reports suggested that an attack might take place at financial institutions near GW, city officials established a “safe zone” where trucks, vans and sport-utility vehicles will be subject to inspection. An indefinite parking ban is also in effect from F Street to the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 18th and 20th streets.
There are already Metropolitan Police checkpoints set up where 21st Street intersects F and H streets. Students using large vehicles for move-in will need to pass a light inspection if they approach these checkpoints, said John Petrie, GW’s assistant vice president for public safety and emergency management. The University is urging all students, particularly those using vans and large trucks, to approach the school from the west instead of the east to avoid delays.
“The normal move-in plans used every year will be used this year,” Petrie said. “We have set up with MPD to get whatever screening vehicles we will need to expedite the move-in process.”
The halls most affected by the city’s heightened state of alert are Thurston Hall, Mitchell Hall, 1957 E Street and Francis Scott Key Hall, all of which are located near the security checkpoints and within the restricted parking areas. Other dormitories, including The Schenley, Crawford and Strong halls are located near checkpoints. Petrie said MPD has waived the parking ban near Thurston Hall until move-in is over.
To ensure a smooth and safe move-in, Petrie said there will be extra MPD and University Police officers positioned throughout campus.
“There are always more UPD officers to assist with move-in during the heaviest days,” Petrie said. “MPD will double the amount of officers that they provide.” UPD Chief Dolores Stafford could not be reached by phone and did not reply to an e-mail from The Hatchet last week.
MPD officials said they are doing everything they can to keep the move-in process stress-free for students and their parents, and noted that it is already a chaotic period.
“We are going to work with GW to alleviate headaches as much as possible during move-in,” said Officer Kenneth Bryson of MPD’s Public Information Office.
Petrie predicted that there would be few impediments to a smooth move-in because MPD has been cooperating with the University.
“Move-in is an extremely busy time every year, but I do not anticipate any problems this year because MPD is doing everything they can to assist GW,” he said.
Petrie added that GW would be disseminating information about move-in to students through a blast e-mail that describes which streets to avoid and what to expect from MPD. Information will also be posted and updated on the Campus Advisory Web site at http://www.gwu.edu/~gwalert.
Heightened security measures in the Foggy Bottom area were implemented Aug. 1 after the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror threat level from yellow to orange in parts of Washington, New York and Newark, N.J., due to terrorist threats to specific financial institutions.
Intelligence has suggested that there might be a car bomb attack at the International Monetary Fund at 19th and G Streets or the World Bank at 1818 H St.