Security to tighten for inauguration

Students will likely be required to register overnight guests for Inauguration Day with the University this election season, a top security official said last week.

A pre-registration policy for overnight visitors around the inauguration “has been discussed,” University Police Chief Kevin Hay said, adding that he “believes the policy will be in place.”

Four years ago, GW’s guest policy for inauguration required each student to file overnight guests with the housing department more than a month before the celebration.

“Sometimes students will invite friends and family from across the United States, because you can’t buy a hotel room, so we want to be sure each of our residence halls remains secure,” Hay said.

He said the University would also likely bring in an external security firm to boost police presence in residence halls and around campus, mirroring efforts from the previous inauguration. In 2009, the University hired security firm Allied Barton to provide guards for 25 residence halls across campus, requiring individuals to show a valid GWorld or a temporary GW-issued ID card prior to entering.

About 1.8 million people flooded the National Mall for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. A total of 800 students, out of about 7,000 living on campus, applied for overnight guests that year.

University President Steven Knapp said Friday that he expects about 1 million visitors to flock to campus for the event next January. A 20 to 30 person task force to address campus safety concerns regarding the inauguration launched earlier this month.

“The primary purpose of the task force is to ensure the safety and security of the campus during the period of Presidential Inauguration activities,” Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said in an email.

Foggy Bottom, along with most of downtown D.C., falls within the Inaugural secure zone, which means extra officers – Metropolitan Police, Secret Service and National Guard – in the area.

Darnell said the task force has been reviewing plans from previous inauguration events and meeting with the D.C. Presidential Inauguration Task Force to “coordinate planning and preparation efforts that will affect the University.”

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