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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Schools tighten security across country

Universities nationwide are changing their security policies as new challenges surface following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

As GW students fled campus Sept. 11, many questioned the safety of going to school in D.C. Parents, fearful of another tragedy, flooded UPD with concerns about campus security, GW spokesman Bob Ludwig said.

The University has taken several steps to ensure the current security system functions adequately and students are aware of how they are protected. Several days after the terrorist attacks, the University Police issued a mass e-mail to the GW community detailing current emergency procedures.

UPD also cited in a written statement examples of how the security system was adapted to the events as they occurred, including additional police and security officers patrolling campus, imposing a “no-guest” policy for residence halls during the recent protests and changing access policies for various buildings.

Junior Jayse Lee, a West End resident, said she noticed lapses in security.

“I don’t think the University did as much as they could,” she said. “There are always loopholes.”

Lee said only one door to her building was guarded, enabling anyone to enter through the back entrance, despite an increase in security.

Director of University Police Dolores Stafford said the University has an emergency management response team that has been in place for years and can be activated in a matter of minutes when situations arise.

GW also has evacuation plans for all buildings on campus, and students are drilled every semester on the locations of emergency exits and short-term evacuation locations, Stafford said.

But some students – even ones who said they feel safe on campus – said they are unaware of the procedures and said they have never participated in emergency drills.

“I’ve always felt safe on campus, and I don’t think anything has to change,” junior Toby Pearce said. “But I don’t know the evacuation procedures.”

Lee agreed.

“I don’t feel like it would be organized,” she said.

Stafford said UPD is confident after working with government officials and having as a resource the GW Hospital, equipped with a decontamination unit designed to handle bioterrorism.

Universities nationwide faced similar questions after terrorists targeted American cities. Emergency protocol and formerly routine security measures were all re-evaluated for a new era of risk.

American University re-examined its security efforts after Sept. 11, an AU Police Department spokesman said. Although no drastic changes were made to the system, the university is considering expanding the physical security, the spokesman said.

Among AU’s improvements are additional surveillance cameras and more limited access to many areas around campus. AU will also revise its patrolling procedures in a move called a “power shift.” More patrolmen will be added on campus, especially at the busiest times of day.

The University of Pennsylvania closed a main campus road to traffic and plans to ask all students and staff to wear identification badges after Sept. 11. The university also added police and security officers, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Football fans of the University of Michigan will experience heightened security at the country’s largest on-campus stadium, according to a Sept. 15 Detroit Free Press article. Stadium security will not allow bags, backpacks or alcohol in the stadium, and water bottles must be sealed. UM Athletic Director Bill Martin also requested that airspace over the stadium be restricted

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