Inauguration, Women’s March guests flood residence halls

Media Credit: Bridie O'Connell | Hatchet Photographer

Students registered to host about as many guests in their residence halls this year as they did for the 2013 inaugural weekend.

Updated: Jan. 26, 2017 at 3:49 p.m.

Students registered about as many guests in residence halls during this past inaugural weekend as they did during former U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration, a University spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Housing officials set a policy for inaugural weekend that required students to register overnight guests ahead of time, citing security concerns. Although not as many guests were registered as during inauguration in 2009, some students said they snuck guests into their halls during the popular tourist weekend.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email that officials anticipated an increase in overnight guests in residence halls and sent out a memo to students after Election Day to notify them of the policy on guests during inaugural weekend.

“We understand that you may be planning to have family and friends join you for these historical events as GW’s location provides a front row seat to the activities,” the memo read. “While we would like to welcome the Colonials family to campus, there are limitations on our ability to accommodate all who may wish to stay with us.”

Students were required to register their guests by Dec. 22 and to pick up a letter of approval for the guests by Jan. 18. Four additional overnight guests per room were allowed.

“Because of the increased security surrounding campus guests were provided with a letter that stated they were a guest of GW housing and guests were required to produce this letter and a government-issued photo ID to be signed into the residence halls by their GW student hosts,” Csellar said.

Csellar declined to provide the number of guests who registered for inaugural weekend. About 800 guests were registered to stay in residence halls for Obama’s inauguration in 2013.

Sophomore Amanda Etemad said she submitted a request for two guests after receiving the memo. She said her guests wanted to come to D.C. to see the inauguration and to participate in Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington.

The form Etemad filled out for her guests was “pretty invasive,” she said.

“They asked for their addresses, phone numbers, their personal information as well as the date and time of their arrival and departure,” Etemad said.

Etemad said after obtaining the required letter, she and her guests had no trouble entering Shenkman Hall during the weekend.

Dominique Paredes-Rupp, a junior, said she registered her boyfriend as a guest as soon as the housing office sent the memo. Paredes-Rupp said her boyfriend, who attends American University, attended the inauguration and inaugural ball with her Friday and stayed with her in Shenkman Hall through the weekend to attend the Women’s March Saturday.

“He stayed at my place that weekend because it is closer to everything and he goes to AU, so he didn’t want to deal with the Metro the Friday of inauguration,” Paredes-Rupp said.

Sophomore Maggie Morris said she didn’t know that three friends wanted to stay with her until the weekend before inauguration when it was too late to submit the request. She said that even without the letter, she still managed to get her friends past security and into Shenkman Hall.

Morris borrowed GWorld cards from residents in Shenkman Hall for her guests to have tap access into the building.

“I knew that it might be hard to get them into my residence hall, but it actually wasn’t even a problem,” Morris said. “The security guards never even questioned them even though they were using a completely random person’s identification.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Paredes-Rupp was a sophomore. She is a junior. We regret this error.

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