Message Regarding Police Activity in University Yard

May 8, 2024

University Update

Dear Members of the George Washington University Community,

On Sunday, President Granberg wrote to you about the unauthorized encampment on GW's University Yard. After carefully monitoring the escalating situation, the DC Metropolitan Police Department determined that the encampment was no longer safe for our shared community. This morning, they conducted an operation to disperse the demonstrators, resulting in the arrest of multiple individuals. It pains us that these actions were necessary, and we recognize that many people in our community on all sides are hurting right now.

Over the last two weeks, GW has worked tirelessly to resolve the situation swiftly and safely. However, these efforts failed to end the encampment or deter the protesters from escalating the situation. Harassing and degrading people based on their beliefs or background, assaulting police officers, illegally occupying and destroying university property, and displaying violent imagery and language are simply unacceptable. It is unfortunate that the behavior and actions of many protesters ultimately required significant police intervention, and GW will continue to pursue accountability for those involved.

We want to thank the District, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the DC Metropolitan Police Department for their support in regaining order and safety in GW's University Yard. We are also grateful for MPD's continued assistance and the tireless efforts of our GWPD, security, and maintenance personnel. 

The last two weeks and the events of this morning have been some of the most profoundly challenging times in our community’s shared history. These activities and their underlying causes have created deep fissures in our community that will take time to heal. We both recognize that there is still a long road ahead. 

In the short term, our focus is on maintaining a safe and secure environment that enables our students' academic success and personal well-being during final exams. Earlier today, we shared measures intended to achieve this. We are also doing everything we can to ensure our graduating students and their families have the Commencement experience they deserve. In the long term, we must begin to rebuild our mutual respect and understanding of one another and re-establish the balance between our community's right to protest and our commitment to our academic mission. 

As we have made clear, many of the issues our students have raised are important and deserve our attention and consideration, and we fully support our community's right to speak out on these and other complex and contested topics. GW leadership has always welcomed constructive dialogue and collaboration with students, faculty, staff, families, and alumni in a mutually respectful manner and environment. Moving forward, we are both personally committed to this standard. 


Ellen M. Granberg



Christopher Alan Bracey

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Professor of Law