Late enforcement of ID-only policy leads to security concerns
Despite an established protocol meant to only allow credentialed individuals and those with Washington University IDs on campus today, many non-approved individuals from the surrounding area arrived on campus Sunday morning without a security check.
At the CNN broadcast on Brookings Quadrangle, some of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s supporters and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s supporters could be heard arguing, with many of said supporters not students. Others were present at the broadcasts for MSNBC and Fox News.
Some students on campus said that the presence of non-students was worrisome, pointing particularly to Trump supporters.
Sophomore Nate Turk, who came to the CNN broadcast with a sign that read “Pro-Israel Students for Hillary,” was confronted in Brookings Quadrangle by a Trump supporter after displaying his sign.
“Trump supporters immediately started harassing me, and chasing me and pushing me and I just tried to run out of the quad, and they were running after me,” Turk said. “Finally I stopped and they were pretty much telling me that Hillary is going to nuke Israel and Hillary will be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, and they’re like, ‘You Jew, doing this before Yom Kippur.’ All these horrible things like that and what I would say were anti-Semitic things like that.”
Other students were confused and bothered by the lack of security.
“Honestly, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I thought this was just going to be students and faculty and just Wash. U. people on campus. There’s just a lot of random older adults that definitely should not be here,” sophomore Jennie Greenstein said.
“We’ve been told all week that Sunday is just students and faculty and so I don’t understand why they’re even allowed to be here,” sophomore Emma Luten added.
Junior Andrew Eichen said that he approached multiple police officers to ask about removing non-students from the campus, but was met with dismissal.
“Trump guys come here, which is fine, but when it’s time to go check IDs, which they are now, the police refuse to kick them out…they blow me off. They say, ‘Oh, yeah’ and they nod at me. I mean it’s just, it’s terrible,” Eichen said.
Jill Friedman, vice chancellor of Public Affairs, said that the breach resulted from non-students entering campus much earlier than the protocols were set into action.
“The folks who came onto campus without the credentials and the university ID came in a lot earlier than the protocol went into place, so you can see we’re letting folks know we have a policy, it’s clearly posted, it’s clearly stated. We’re getting cooperation and adhering to it,” Friedman said.
Friedman could not comment on what time the protocol went into place on Sunday.
The University’s intention was to make the only entrance to campus the Brookings Hall archway, according to Friedman, but she could not comment on whether there would be security posted at other campus entrances.
“We are doing the best that we can with the resources that we have available. And it is one of the reasons why we are checking IDs and we’re asking folks for credentials regularly if possible, but we are certainly doing the best that we can,” Friedman said.
Several security forces are currently stationed on campus, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Washington University Police Department, St. Louis County Police Department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, in addition to the United States Secret Service.
As of publication, police forces were stationed on both sides of the Greenway Overpass, as well as by the front of Brookings Hall. Identification was not being checked at the Forsyth underpass. Forsyth Boulevard and Big Bend Boulevard are also closed to traffic and pedestrians.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Additional reporting by Desi Isaacson and Noa Yadidi.