CGI U security to have limited effect on campus
Despite the number of important figures and out-of-town delegates arriving at Washington University this weekend for the Clinton Global Initiative University conference, the campus will not see noticeable security differences or road restrictions.
“There won’t be the same sort of feeling of restriction that there was during the debates,” Washington University Director of Campus Police Don Strom said. “The average student won’t notice any significant changes around campus.”
According to Strom, the only differences people will notice on campus are that a few parking lots will be a bit more restricted and the Athletic Complex will be off-limits on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, events over the weekend will be taking place in Holmes Lounge, the Women’s Building Formal Lounge, Seigle Hall, the Knight Center and in Anheuser-Busch Hall.
“There shouldn’t be many parking challenges affiliated with CGI U since most guests not from Wash. U. will be coming in by bus from hotels around the city,” Assistant Vice Chancellor Rob Wild said. “We’ve been fortunate because the timing of the event starts after the regular work week, and the majority of activities are on Saturday, so we won’t need to close any roads.”
Wild, along with a team of 35 other men and women from across the University, have been meeting since last fall to prepare for CGI U. Most of the preparations are basic things such as ensuring there is good Wi-Fi in all the rooms where events are taking place.
University police have been working with Secret Service agents in order to ensure not only protection of the former president but also a safe conference for all those involved.
“Whenever the Secret Service has a protectee involved, we work closely with them,” Strom said. “We’re responsible for making sure the event is safe and secure for all those involved from the University and other universities, but when you insert a protectee, we work closely with the Secret Service to coordinate our efforts.”
Additional security efforts will be concentrated on the AC, but there will be security staff dedicated to assisting in other areas as well as with the extra service event happening on Sunday within the city.
Wild said that while the Danforth Campus will not see as much security as it has in previous years during debates, all volunteers, delegates and staff will need special credentials to enter buildings in which events are taking place. These buildings will be closed to the general public for the weekend.
The AC will be closed on Friday in order to begin setting up for the event, which is similar to the preparation for commencement and convocation.
“We’re fortunate that there’s not a lot of activity at the AC this weekend,” Wild said. “The University is grateful to the track team, who had to move their meet to Saint Louis University this weekend, for their adjustment. We’ve been told that even the football team is able to practice Friday morning, so hopefully there’s not too much disruption of the athletic teams.”
Freshman track team member Arjun Kumar said the AC shutting down did not significantly disrupt this weekend’s track competition.
“Luckily our biggest meet was last weekend, so this one doesn’t have as many athletes and isn’t quite as important,” he said. “SLU’s facilities are similar to ours, and really the only issue is that we have to meet somewhere else than where we normally would. The track should still be open though, so [CGI U] isn’t really affecting us that much.”
Sophomore football player Blake Avery likewise said that the early closing of the AC did not affect his practice significantly.
“Since we can still practice on the field, the only way it’s affecting us is that we can’t lift like we usually do on Friday mornings,” Avery said. “But really it doesn’t affect us much at all.”
Wild was grateful that the timing of CGI U worked out well with the timing of other school events.
“We’ve had great response from student volunteers, and we have a lot of students here ready to welcome President Clinton and all these other talented students to our campus,” he said. “It should be a great weekend for Wash. U.”