Keep Safety in Mind During Inauguration

GW students, faculty and staff should be aware of road closures, shuttle changes and general safety tips ahead of the Jan. 20 events.

January 17, 2017


By Kristen Mitchell

Inauguration Day activities are expected to draw more than 700,000 people to Washington, D.C., and those visitors along with security restrictions will affect the George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom Campus.

Darrell Darnell, senior associate vice president for safety and security, spoke with GW Today to offer advice on how the university community can stay informed and safe during inauguration events.

Q: What general safety and security tips should students, faculty and staff keep in mind?
A: If you choose to attend the inaugural swearing-in ceremony on the Mall or the inaugural parade I recommend traveling in groups of two or more people and not alone. If something doesn’t feel right, try to get out of that situation by any means that you can. If you see something that seems suspicious, call 911 and report it to the police.

Program GW Police Department numbers into your phone before heading out for the day. On the Foggy Bottom Campus, 202-994-6111 is the emergency number, and 202-994-6110 is for non-emergencies. On the Mount Vernon Campus, call 202-242-6111 for emergencies and 202-242-6110 for non-emergencies.

If an emergency or inclement weather occurs, seek shelter indoors until normal conditions return. Follow directions from law enforcement personnel and monitor local media and GW Campus Advisories.

Q: What should the GW community know about changes to transportation?
A: GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus is within the Vehicle Restricted Area as designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service. No vehicles will be able to drive onto campus Friday. The restricted area begins east of the Capitol Building and ends at 23rd Street, which will remain open.  From K Street at Washington Circle to the north to Constitution Avenue to the South all roads will be closed to vehicular traffic. The E Street tunnel will close at 9pm on Thursday January 19.

Parking on campus will not be permitted on Friday, and there will be no street parking on campus beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday through 7 a.m. Saturday. All garages will be closed except Science and Engineering Hall, Lerner Health and Wellness Center, and 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue. Additional information on road closures around Foggy Bottom—designated as part of the Green Zone—is available on the D.C. government’s Presidential Inauguration website and through GW Campus Advisories.

GW police and National Guard personnel will facilitate pedestrian and garage access to campus at 23rd Street and G, H and I streets.

I recommend using Metro or other public transportation if you need to be on campus Friday and make sure your SmarTrip card is loaded to avoid long lines. Expect delays on public transportation and give yourself enough time to reach your destination safely.

Because of driving restrictions in Foggy Bottom, GW shuttles that regularly pick up at Funger Hall will be moved to the Lerner Health and Wellness Center starting at 1 a.m. on Friday. The Vern Express and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus shuttles will run on normal schedules at the new pickup location through Saturday morning.

The GW Police Department also will be communicating information about road closures and security restrictions on Facebook and Twitter.  Campus Advisories will also provide updates on road closures and security restrictions.

Q: Will campus buildings be open?
A: All administrative and academic buildings will close at 10 p.m. Thursday and remain closed Friday. The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design Flagg Building on 17th Street will close at 9 p.m. Thursday. Buildings are expected to be open in time for morning classes on Saturday. The lift on restrictions will be announced on social media and Campus Advisories.

The Marvin Center and the lower levels of Shenkman Hall and District House are expected to remain accessible to those with GWorld cards.  Retail stores in those buildings will be open to the public.

Q: Will students, faculty and staff need to carry ID?
A: Yes, if you are a student, staff or faculty member and on the Foggy Bottom Campus on Inauguration Day, make sure you carry your GWorld card at all times. GW police and private security officers will be on campus and may ask to see your ID and may ask for government issued identification as well.

Without a GWorld card, members of the GW community will not be permitted to enter any campus facilities. Guests of GW students are required to carry a government-issued photo ID at all times.

Q: What is the policy for overnight guests?
A: Overnight guests in GW residence halls must be pre-approved, and this policy will be strictly enforced. More than 400 students have registered nearly 600 guests leading up to Inauguration Day. Guests will be required to present a government-issued photo ID and to be signed into residence halls by their GW student hosts. Guests will also be required to carry the letter provided to their host by GW Housing.

Students should also close and lock doors behind them when entering and exiting residence halls. Immediately notify GWPD if you believe an unauthorized person is attempting to enter a residence hall.  Keep in mind GW restrooms are not open to the public.

Q: How will the Foggy Bottom Campus be affected by the Welcome Concert on the National Mall Thursday?
A: There will be multiple street closures in the area surrounding the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday as the Presidential Inaugural Committee hosts a Welcome Concert to kick-off the inaugural events. Memorial Bridge and Lincoln Memorial Circle will be closed beginning 5 a.m. until the event concludes at approximately 7 p.m.  The Theodore Roosevelt Bridge will close at 10am.

Q: What should people know about getting to the Inaugural Ball?
A: If you are planning to attend GW’s Inaugural Ball, take advantage of the shuttles running to the Omni Shoreham Hotel from Mount Vernon’s Academic Building and the Marvin Center in Foggy Bottom. Those shuttles will run every 10 minutes from 7:45 pm to 1 a.m. Alternatives like taking Uber or Lyft may be in high demand and costly.

Students, faculty and staff attending the event will need a government-issued photo ID, GWorld Card and valid printed ticket to enter the Inaugural Ball. Non-GW affiliated guests must enter the event with their GW guest and bring a government-issued photo ID along with a printed ticket.