GW hires extra security guards for inauguration

The University will lock up academic buildings and has contracted extra guards to man residence halls and patrol campus for inauguration weekend, when thousands of visitors will descend on Foggy Bottom.

Administrators have approved about 550 overnight guests – down from 800 guests allowed on campus in 2009. Only guests who were pre-approved by the University can enter residence halls throughout the weekend.

Similar to 2009, when the University hired guards for its 25 residence halls, GW will bring additional officers from the security firm Allied Barton to campus.

University police will check GWorlds and photo identification for all hall visitors from Jan. 19 through Jan. 21, GW’s top safety leader said. On typical weekends, students must show their GWorlds and sign in guests only at night.

Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell declined to give specifics about the number of officers that will roam campus, saying, “We typically don’t advertise the specific number of officers.”

He said the police department will “maintain the appropriate level of staffing based upon past inauguration requirements and the best available current information regarding crowd size and potential threats.”

Across the city, security personnel are bracing for a smaller pool of spectators for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Darnell said most officials are estimating a crowd between 800,000 and 1 million people. About 1.8 million people flocked to the National Mall in 2009.

Still, the thousands of visitors and preparation for the inaugural parade will force several streets to close during the weekend. The parade, which ends at the White House between 5 and 5:30 p.m., will likely bring heavy traffic Monday evening. Darnell said the city will start to block off certain streets starting at 6 or 7 p.m. on Jan. 19.

“I wouldn’t be driving at all. I think you should use public transportation or walk,” Darnell said.

The Vern Express will follow its normal schedule. 4-RIDE will also run as usual, but students may have to wait longer for shuttles because of closed-off streets. The parade should not affect bus transportation to GW’s Inaugural Ball at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, but Darnell said students should try to use the Metro.

All academic buildings – such as Rice Hall and Duques Hall – will be locked similar to holidays and weekends. Gelman Library will also be closed on Inauguration Day.

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