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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW Paris programs won’t close despite riots in city

This report was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Shaeera Tariq

Some of GW’s study abroad program in Paris will not cancel classes, despite ongoing riots throughout the capital city over a new retirement law.

Last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans to raise the retirement age in France from 60 to 62 years-old. The plan, which was passed by the French Senate on Friday, would raise put off French citizen’s receiving a pension until they are 67 years-old.

More than one million public and private sector workers and students have taken to the streets in several cities to protest the reform. Fuel workers have been striking, causing more than 50 percent of flights to the city to be canceled and public transportation to shut down.

Despite the chaos, institutions like Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris – where the GW study abroad program in the city is hosted – have not canceled classes for students.

“GW has been sending us updates and warnings as well as the U.S. Embassy,” junior Alyssa Ng said. “Honestly, I don’t think there is much GW can do. They send us warnings about avoiding popular areas and to stay away from the protests – they also gave us a list of emergency numbers just in case.”

Junior Blake Eisenberg said he has not noticed too much change due to the protests being written about in the media.

“There is more garbage in the streets and stickers being placed on billboards but for the most part, the protests are peaceful,” Blake Eisenberg,  a GW junior abroad in the city, said.

Laura Ochs, the GW coordinator for the program in Paris, said that the GW Office for Study Abroad has been in contact with students studying on the GW Paris program.

“The programs are proceeding as usual,” Ochs said. “Our staff, in D.C. and in Paris, is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to communicate with students regarding safety precautions and procedures.”

They have given a list of safety precautions advising students to avoid protests and demonstrations as they can turn violent, keep cell phones on at all times, and pay attention to their surroundings.

Ochs said that students are able to contact their GW Paris Resident Director with any questions about the situation.

Eisenberg also said that educational institutions in Paris have not taken drastic measures in terms of security. Eisenberg said that the University continues to operate normally, but occasionally enforces ID checks for entrance into the main building.

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