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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Officials cancel, postpone inauguration events due to ‘heightened’ safety concerns

Officials announced they will require GWorld tap access to enter all University buildings on the Foggy Bottom campus from Friday to Monday.
Jennifer Igbonoba | Staff Photographer
A GWPD officer stands infront of the presidents house on F Street during a protest in April.

Officials moved University President Ellen Granberg’s inauguration to a virtual format for most registered guests and will require GWorld tap access to enter all GW buildings following “heightened” safety concerns, per announcements to the community Wednesday.

Granberg’s investiture ceremony, which officials set for Friday at 11 a.m. in the Smith Center, is now an online event with restricted in-person access, while all other inauguration events have been canceled or postponed, according to a Wednesday update to the inauguration schedule. A separate email to community members states that officials will also bolster campus security, requiring GWorld tap access to enter all Foggy Bottom Campus buildings from Friday to Monday in response to growing local and international unrest following the Israeli military’s escalating assault in the Gaza Strip and upcoming protests in D.C.

“While we want to be clear that we are not aware of any direct threats to the University at this time, we are taking this temporary measure in an abundance of caution due to ongoing and planned activism throughout the District,” the email states.

The Wednesday email states that officials will reschedule the “Raise Higher Together” block party, which was scheduled to follow Granberg’s investiture in Kogan Plaza on Friday. Officials also canceled “The REVelry” student celebration, which was scheduled for Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the University Yard. The email states the Great Hall of the University Student Center will no longer serve as a “Welcome Center” for guests attending the inauguration and converted the “Celebrating GW” symposium on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. into an invite-only event with a livestream option.

“While we looked forward to these events as originally planned, it is important for the University to focus on supporting our community,” the update states.

The announcement comes three days before the Palestinian Youth Movement’s planned national protest in support of Palestinians on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Plaza, just a few steps from the D.C. Mayor’s Office and White House and about a mile away from campus.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through campus in a rally from the White House to the State Department last week, demanding Secretary of State Antony Blinken call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, which led to the closure of F and 23rd streets for several hours. One demonstrator stood on the steps of Granberg’s F Street residence, while another confronted apparent members of Zeta Beta Tau, a Jewish fraternity, but it’s unclear what spurred the dispute.

Officials will be increasing the GW Police Department and security officers’ presence around campus through the weekend and have assigned security guards to all residence halls, the email states. Granberg, in a separate Tuesday email, announced that officials would be boosting patrols around campus following the Israeli military’s expanded ground offensive in Gaza. It’s unclear how the weekend bump in police presence will affect Granberg’s announced boost.

The Wednesday statement also reiterates the process for reporting discrimination and bias, an enforcement of the Code of Student Conduct, which outlines “prohibited conduct” for students and student organizations to address reported violations. GW’s Counseling and Psychological Services created a new “post-crisis support space” for community members in need of disaster response intervention and is working with students and campus partners to create additional support and affinity spaces, according to the email.

The announcement comes one day after Granberg released a statement denouncing “casual bigotry” on campus and asking officials to reconcile the right to free speech while upholding community values. She said she met with Jewish, Muslim and Arab community members over the last few weeks and was “alarmed” to hear reports of identity-based mistreatment on campus.

Last week, four members of Students for Justice in Palestine projected messages onto Gelman Library that condemned Israel, GW and Granberg, like “Glory to our Martyrs,” “GW the blood of Palestine is on your hands” and “President Granberg is complicit in genocide in Gaza.” The students stopped their protest after officials demanded they take down the messages, and Granberg released a statement the next day stating the projections were antisemitic and violated GW policy.

The projections caused backlash from GW alumni, advocacy groups and politicians, who asked Granberg to discipline the students involved and threatened to pull their funding contributions to the University. One day after the protest, officials increased security at Gelman and postponed GW’s annual Diversity Summit.

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