By Brittney Dunkins
A video that surfaced Monday on social media included threats made by men who appeared to be militants saying that an attack similar to the shootings in Paris on Friday could happen in Washington, D.C.
However, Senior Associate Vice President of the George Washington University Office of Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said that GW is working closely with federal and local law enforcement and that there is no “credible threat” to D.C. or GW.
The video purports to be released by a group connected with ISIS, the terror organization that has said it was behind the six attacks Friday in Paris that killed more than 100 people and injured more than 300 others. However, by Monday afternoon, U.S. government officials had not verified the video’s origins.
George Washington Today reporter Brittney Dunkins spoke to Mr. Darnell about security on campus and how the university community can support the safety of everyone at GW.
Q: Does the video include a credible threat against D.C.?
A: The GW Office of Safety and Security is in constant contact with local and federal law enforcement, and we are getting as much information as possible about any threats to Washington, D.C., and GW specifically. At this time, there are no credible threats to D.C. or to GW based on the information that we have. A credible threat is defined as a threat with some degree of specificity regarding a place and time that has a high probability of occurring. Considering the information that we have and that definition, there is no credible threat to D.C. and more specifically to GW.
Q: What safety precautions are in place at GW to protect the university community?
A: We currently are in our normal security posture with GWPD. We will continue to have officers patrol the campus on foot, on bike and in patrol cars. We will also maintain access control at selected residence halls and administrative building using community service aids. There will be increased security this evening at the GW men’s basketball game vs. University of Virginia. Anyone planning to attend the game should arrive as early as possible as there will be enhanced security, most likely including bag checks and a more visible security presence.
Q: Where can students, parents, faculty and staff find accurate updates on campus security?
A: I would recommend checking the campus advisory website, which has the most up-to-date information for parents and students. If there is something imminent going on, updates are provided through GW Alert. We recommend that all members of the university community provide their cell phone number through the GWEB portal to receive alerts. Students can also download and use the GW PAL mobile safety app to contact the Office of Safety and Security or to send us information about a situation wherever they are.
Parents also can follow updates on the campus advisory website and sign up for the Office of Parent Services Parent’s Association list serve to receive updates.
Q: How can members of the university community be mindful of safety in their daily activities?
A: Safety and security is not just something our office is responsible for, although we are the primary office that handles these concerns. Safety and security is something that we can all take personal responsibility for. If you see something that is concerning, then you should say something. You can report threatening behavior immediately via 202-994-6111 or by calling 911. I would also encourage all faculty, staff and students to download the Emergency Response Handbook on the advisory website and familiarize themselves with emergency response procedure and reporting.