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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

ANC commissioners condemn use of police force at GW protests, homeless encampment sweeps

Members+of+the+Foggy+Bottom+and+West+End+Advisory+Neighborhood+Commission+speak+during+its+monthly+meeting.
Rory Quealy | Staff Photographer
Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission speak during its monthly meeting.

Two members of a local governing body criticized GW and the Metropolitan Police Department’s handling the pro-Palestinian encampment at a Wednesday meeting.

Commissioners in the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission said the well-being of their constituents is a priority and that the actions of D.C. and GW officials to clear protesters did not reflect a commitment to community safety. Metropolitan Police Department officers swept the encampment in University Yard at about 4 a.m. earlier this month, deploying pepper spray and arresting 33 demonstrators.

ANC Chair Trupti Patel said commissioners hired and will announce in June a new executive director to replace Peter Sacco, who left the role in February.

Community members also voiced concerns about dangerous traffic at Washington Circle.

Here are some of the meeting’s highlights:

Two ANC commissioners comment on campus protests

Commissioners Yannik Omictin and Dasia Bandy — who are also GW alumni — condemned GW and city officials’ response to the almost two-weeklong pro-Palestinian encampment in U-Yard.

Omictin said he is “disappointed” in GW for calling on MPD to use force, like pepper spray, against its, and ANC’s, constituents.

“It’s shocking to have constituents ask, ‘What can we do about this? Can the ANC do anything about this? Can the city do anything about this?’” Omictin said. “‘No, the city was the one who sicced the cops on them in the first place. No one is out there trying to protect them from all this.”

On the second day of the encampment, Omictin posted his support for protesters and urged MPD and GW officials not to clear the demonstration on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Bandy said she has seen how the protests and GW’s handling of the encampment have impacted community members and does not support the use of violence and force to end demonstrations.

“I’m in solidarity with all those impacted by the conflict,” Bandy said. “I don’t condone any violence.”

Four community members warn of Washington Circle’s dangerous traffic patterns

Community members voiced concerns about Washington Circle’s traffic patterns, citing dangerous run-ins with vehicles.

Community member Cameron Mays testified that Washington Circle’s traffic pattern is hazardous for pedestrians. He said he lives just off of Washington Circle and routinely sees drivers running red lights and illegally turning right on red, especially on the northbound block of New Hampshire Avenue.

“I do believe that traffic calming modifications to the circle should be built to reduce traffic accidents and ensure the safety of those in the community,” Mays said.

Florence Harmon, a former ANC chair, said she has noticed dangerous traffic in Washington Circle since the 1980s and that cars often ignore crosswalks.

“The problem goes back decades,” Harmon said.

Omictin rebukes officials’ decision to move forward with Foggy Bottom encampment clearings

Omictin said he was frustrated that District and National Park Service officials authorized seven homeless encampment sweeps in Foggy Bottom on Thursday, evicting about 70 residents.

Omictin said in the meeting Wednesday that officials should have halted the evictions because The Aston, a former GW dorm that the District bought in July to convert into a homeless shelter, is not yet open. The Aston was originally slated to open in November but is projected to open in August after significant delays due to lawsuits and issues securing a provider.

“People living in those encampments could have moved into The Aston but now probably won’t get the opportunity to do so because they are being cleared out by the Deputy Mayor’s office,” Omictin said. “Many will be lost to the system. Many are already moving to different places.”

Bylaws committee chair recaps first meeting

Florence Harmon, the chair of the ANC 2A Bylaws Revision Committee and a former ANC chair, said at the first meeting May 1 committee members discussed topics they would like to see included in the ANC’s bylaws and strategies for future meetings.

Commissioners created the committee at their January meeting to ensure the ANC’s bylaws are up to date with the D.C. Code.

Harmon said the committee will address specific points they want to see included in the bylaws at the next meeting, slated for June 3.

ANC supports a university’s extensions to canopy, outdoor seating area

Commissioners unanimously approved construction plans to extend Bay Atlantic University’s canopy and seating area outside the university’s building at 1510 H St. NW.

Kaya Biron, an architect with the construction company We Design Build, said the canopy and outdoor seating area will be situated by a coffee shop the school is building, taking the place of the White House Deli. He said the canopy will be built above the additional outdoor seating area.

Biron said the outdoor seating area will have tables surrounded by a railing and will take up about 4.25 feet of the 17-foot-wide sidewalk, leaving about 13 feet of pedestrian walking space.

Commissioners send three resolutions to D.C. Council

Commissioners unanimously approved 2A05 Commissioner and Vice Chair Luke Chadwick’s resolution asking the D.C. Council to request that the Construction Code Coordinating Board reevaluate indoor heating and cooling timeframes set for rental properties.

D.C. Housing Code Standards require buildings to supply heat between Oct. 15 and May 1.

Chadwick said the goal of the resolution is to encourage the Council and the CCCB to consider changing heating and cooling regulations to be temperature-directed, instead of date-based. He said the change would allow property owners to turn on air conditioning early or extend heating based on the outdoor temperatures and pointed to an April 2023 petition calling for the switch, which garnered close to 1,600 signatures.

The ANC unanimously approved a resolution urging the Council to fund more than a dozen budget priorities in the D.C. fiscal year 2025 budget like the Foggy Bottom-West End Main Streets Program, Rapid Rehousing for Individuals and filling a $235,000 budget gap for the School Without Walls High School. Commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution requesting the Council fund roof repairs in FY 2025 for The Aston as officials convert it into a homeless shelter.

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About the Contributor
Rory Quealy, News Editor
Rory Quealy is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications from La Grange, Illinois. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Health and Research beat and a research assistant.
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