As the D.C. region prepares for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend President Barack Obama’s second inauguration on Jan. 21, Darrell Darnell, George Washington University senior associate vice president for safety and security, spoke with George Washington Today to remind the community about the important safety information surrounding the event.
Q: What general tips do you have on safety and security leading up to and on Inauguration Day?
A: If you’re going to attend activities on the National Mall, anticipate heightened security, travel light, know what items are prohibited and be prepared for adverse weather. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.
Also, assume that many visitors attending events on the Mall will pass through the Foggy Bottom Campus. Anticipate travel delays due to road closures and a high volume of people using public transportation. Be sure to buy and pre-load Metro SmarTrip cards before inauguration weekend.
If an emergency or inclement weather occurs, seek shelter indoors until normal conditions return. Follow directions from law enforcement personnel. You should also monitor local media and GW Campus Advisories for important information.
Finally, program the GW Police Department numbers into your phone. Foggy Bottom Campus: 202-994-6111 (emergency) or 202-994-6110 (non-emergency). And Mount Vernon Campus: 202-242-6111 (emergency) or 202-242-6110 (non- emergency). Or call 911.
Q: What do students in residence halls need to know about safety and the overnight guest policy?
A: Students should remember to always close and lock doors behind them when entering and exiting residence halls; don’t allow strangers access to GW buildings. GW restrooms are not public-access areas.
All overnight guests in GW residence halls must be pre-approved and will be issued special GW inauguration identification cards. Guests will be required to produce this card and a government-issued photo ID and be signed into the residence halls by their GW student hosts. Guests may be asked for identification at other times during the weekend if they’re stopped by GW police or other law enforcement personnel. And remember: This guest policy is in effect from 7 a.m. on Jan. 18 through 7 a.m. on Jan. 22. (Click here for more information.)
Also, remember that academic and administrative buildings on campus will operate on a holiday schedule on Jan. 21.
Q: Do students, faculty and staff need to carry their GWorld cards with them?
A: Yes. Because of perimeter restrictions surrounding the Foggy Bottom Campus, you may be required to present GW identification. All members of the GW community should carry their GWorld card with them at all times. Registered guests should carry their GW-issued inauguration identification cards, as well as photo identification, at all times.
Q: What should the university community know about transportation and parking?
A: One of the most important reminders is that walking or using public transportation, especially Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, is recommended. The Foggy Bottom Campus will be affected by parking and traffic restrictions established by the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Secret Service.
There will be many “no parking” restrictions throughout Foggy Bottom, and you will be towed if you park in these areas.
All bridges will be open except Memorial Bridge. There will not be tunnel closures. However, street closures and pedestrian rights of way are subject to change at any time, so be prepared for adjustments, particularly on Jan. 21, and monitor local media for any updates.
Q: What about university transportation services, like the Vern Express, Virginia Campus shuttle and 4-RIDE?
A: The Vern Express will operate on its regular schedule on Jan. 21.
The Virginia Science and Technology Campus shuttle will not operate on Jan. 21.
4-RIDE will operate on a normal schedule over inauguration weekend. Service on Jan. 21 may be modified due to the security perimeter in place around the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. There may be traffic congestion and delays in the service area.
Q: Do you have any important reminders for those who plan to attend the GW Inaugural Ball?
A: You’ll need a government-issued photo ID and your ticket to enter. If you have misplaced your ticket or cannot find the email you received with a link to the ticket, contact the GW Ticketing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-994-6800 no later than 3 p.m. on Jan. 18.
Although complimentary shuttles will transport attendees between the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses and the Omni Shoreham Hotel, we advise guests to use Metro, as street closures and parade traffic may affect the shuttle service.
(More information on the Inaugural Ball can be found here.)