Late enforcement of ID-only policy leads to security concerns
Following early morning concerns about security on campus, police and security forces were posted at most campus entrances to check identification and credentials, but bolstered security presence and barricades did not prove entirely effective come post-debate.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, increased security forces checked individuals entering campus for Washington University identification or other credentials. Others were supposedly turned away, but some students noticed later in the day that non-approved individuals were present.
Senior Merill Hollander was chased and yelled at by a Trump supporter after the debate.
“She was just yelling things at me that don’t make sense and were just attacking me, and I didn’t like that,” Hollander said. “I didn’t like that there was someone on our campus attacking students in such an aggressive way.”
She said that she could understand how someone could slip through the security measures, but that these people could cause problems.
“If they’re not going to cause issues like that, it’s going to go unnoticed, and obviously, it’ll be fine. But if they’re making other students feel uncomfortable, then that’s definitely an issue,” Hollander said.
Junior Ariadne Bazigos encountered several individuals on campus who felt frightening.
“Post-debate, I went to Brookings Quad to see what CNN was up to. While there, my friend and I saw somebody dressed up like the grim reaper, complete with a sickle. You couldn’t see their face because of the hood, and they were holding a sign that said ‘I ❤ TRUMP.’ I don’t know if they were allowed to be on campus or not, but it was certainly freaky, especially because I couldn’t see their face and the (presumably plastic) weapon,” Bazigos said.
She also noted that several seemingly drunk Trump supporters were yelling in the CNN audience, but after several minutes, it appeared that they had either left or been escorted out.
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 morning 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 yesterday morning.
“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 yesterday morning 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 afffairs, said that the morning’s 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.
However, several security forces were 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.