Students will not face arrest for visitor policy violations: officials

Media Credit: File Photo by Grace Hromin | Assistant Photo Editor

GW Police Department Chief James Tate said GWPD will not arrest students for failing to social distance or visiting another student, according to a student's Facebook comment.

Officials said they do not plan to enforce a clause in the Undergraduate Housing License Agreement allowing the University to arrest visitors, including students residing elsewhere on campus, in violation of a new visitation ban in residence halls.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Cissy Petty and GW Police Department Chief James Tate told students GWPD officers will not arrest students in violation of visitor bans this fall, according to a post and comment on the Overheard at GW Facebook page. No daytime or overnight guests will be allowed in residence hall rooms once students return to campus, even if they are from another residence hall or floor.

“At any time, the University may limit or prohibit individuals not residing in Student’s residence hall, including family members and other GW students, from entering residential facilities due to the health and safety interests of the community, visitors found to be in violation of the University’s policies or the law may be subject to arrest, administrative and/or student conduct action by the University or may be escorted from the licensed space and barred from further entry into all residential and/or University facilities, dependent upon the person’s affiliations with the University,” the housing agreement states.

Visitors include non-residents of a residence hall room or suite, including other GW students, according to the agreement.

Tate said GWPD will not arrest students for failing to social distance or visiting another student, according to a student’s Facebook comment.

“Those matters are better handled by other professional staff,” Tate said in an email, according to the comment.

Petty said people in violation of the policy could undergo procedures outlined in Student Rights and Responsibilities.

“I believe our students understand that the policy is about safety and care and not intended to be punitive,” Petty said, according to the main post.

Officials have not publicly removed the statement about potential arrests of students in violation of the visitor policy contained in the housing agreement as of Saturday evening.

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