University advises 12 students studying in Cairo to avoid demonstrations

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Cory Weinberg

The University has advised the 12 GW students studying abroad in Cairo to avoid demonstrations and stay in contact with program administrators during the violent unrest that has been taking place in Egypt over the last few days.

The State Department issued a travel advisory Sunday urging U.S. citizens in Egypt to “consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so,” and University officials are discussing evacuation plans to bring the GW students back to the U.S. Before arrangements can be made to bring the students home safely, the University advised students to stay in place.

“We have advised our students to take precautions to ensure their continued safety, including avoiding demonstrations and staying in close contact with their parents and program administrators,” University spokeswoman Candace Smith said in an e-mail.

Georgetown University advised its students to evacuate, The Hoya – Georgetown’s student newspaper – reported Sunday morning.

The University added that the 12 students studying in Cairo – the center of the civil unrest in Egypt – and the two others studying in Alexandria, Egypt are safe, despite the violence that broke out Jan. 25.

“We have been in touch with the students and staff and believe they are safe. There has been no indication that they are in danger,” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said in an e-mail.

Internet and cell phone service has been shut down in the country since Friday morning, but the University sent an e-mail to those students before the disruption “reminding them of precautions to take during civil unrest,” Sherrard said.

Students studying in Cairo said they knew the country would likely face protests soon after they landed in Egypt. Program directors told students to expect protests on Jan. 25, which the government designated as a holiday to celebrate a police force that Egyptians view as abusive.

“We’d been coached the whole time how to react. We know that police will chase after us and smash our cameras if we try to use it. We’ve been taught what to do, what not to do, what to take pictures of. We’ve been barred from going to the protests,” junior Lauren Kardos said in a Skype interview Thursday.

Check Monday’s edition of The Hatchet for more coverage of GW students’ accounts of the protests in the country.

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