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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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‘Currently no changes’ to Commencement amid potential government shutdown: officials

Eric Lee | Staff Photographer
Read up on how some graduating students are finding novel ways to celebrate the conclusion to their time at GW.

Officials said they are “monitoring” the impact that a potential government shutdown could have on the Commencement ceremony set to recognize the classes of 2020 and 2021 on the National Mall Saturday.

Government shutdowns have minimized activity at national parks and on federal land, like the National Mall, with few staff or visitor services available and revoked special event permits. National Park Service spokesperson Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said NPS officials are reviewing their contingency plan for federal land use with guidance from the Office of Management and Budget.

“Determinations about specific operations and programs have not been made,” Anzelmo-Sarles said in an email.

In an update posted to the Commencement website Tuesday, University officials said there are currently “no changes” to the Commencement Ceremony in light of the potential shut down.

“Should this change, we will provide an update to all Commencement registrants,” they said in the update.

The U.S. Senate will vote Thursday on a stopgap bill to keep the government open until Dec. 3. If Congress doesn’t pass the bill, the federal government would enter a shutdown Friday.

The update also states that Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will not attend the event on the National Mall in person but will participate through a video because of “the demands of his schedule.” Fauci is set to receive the President’s Medal at the ceremony – the highest honor that can be bestowed by the University president.

Saturday’s event will be the University’s first Commencement on the National Mall since 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the classes of 2020 and 2021 to graduate with online ceremonies.

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