Staying safe and out of trouble at GW

If you’re hoping to stay out of trouble and keep an unblemished record, understanding the rules at GW can help. It is important to “know and abide by the law and GW policies,” says University Police Chief Dolores Stafford, and understanding the University’s Code of Student Conduct is a good place to start.


While GW is technically not a “dry campus,” underage drinking at GW is considered a serious offense that can result in a fine and could ultimately end in expulsion. Students are subject to these punishments whether they are intoxicated at a school event, consume alcohol on campus or return to campus intoxicated. First-time violators will face a $50 fine, alcohol education, and parental notification if they are under 21.

After a student’s first trip to the hospital they will be saddled with a $100 fine, a mandatory meeting with a professional staff member and parental notification if they are under 21 years old. A second trip is likely to result in a one-year suspension, and a third violation could result in expulsion.

“One of the most common types of violations that underage students commit is having possession of or being under the influence of alcohol,” Stafford said.

Drinking is undeniably a large part of campus life, however, and many students stay out of trouble by using common sense, keeping their volume to a minimum and avoiding appearing conspicuously drunk near UPD officers.


The University’s Code of Student Conduct classifies a drug offense as “possession or use of illegal drugs or controlled substances; possession of paraphernalia containing drug residue; manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances.” The associate dean of students will contact the parents of students who are found to be in violation of any of these rules.

A first time offense will result in a $50 fine, drug education and eviction from University housing. Students will receive $100 fine and a required evaluation after a second offense, and a conference with the Dean of Students after a third offense to discuss a student’s future at the University. The consequence of dealing drugs is a one-year suspension.


Students are at risk for a noise violation if they are “shouting or making excessive noise either inside or outside a building to the annoyance or disturbance of others,” according to the Code of Conduct. This includes lewd or indecent behavior.

If a UPD officer patrolling an area hears too much noise, students could receive an administrative warning or judicial action. And if the officer notices illegal activity while investigating the noise, consequences will be more severe.

Fake IDs

Fake identification may seem like the easiest way to get into your favorite bar or club, but getting caught with one will result in charges from the Metropolitan Police Department as well as action from Student Judicial Services. Students can be put on disciplinary probation for having a fake ID, and making or selling them can lead to suspension or expulsion.

Staying safe

Attending a University in the center of city means students need to be careful about their safety. Stafford said students should avoid walking alone late at night, especially when traveling off campus. She urges students to use the University Police 4-RIDE escort service that shuttles students around campus, walk in groups of people, or take a taxi home if travelling beyond the 4-RIDE boundaries.

The 4-RIDE service operates from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. seven days a week and can be reached at 202-994-RIDE. The UPD emergency number is 202-994-6111.

Stafford said students must be aware of their surroundings, especially while listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone.

Students should also be careful with their belongings, Stafford said. “The most common crime on campus is theft of unattended items in both academic buildings and in residence hall rooms,” Stafford said. She suggests students do not leave valuables unattended on campus, keep their residence hall room doors locked, and store valuables including cash, jewelry and expensive electronics in a safe.

“Keep track of your belongings and remain aware of your surroundings. Use good judgment and common sense, as safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Stafford said.

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