Official campus closures announced due to Hurricane Sandy

Screen capture of official GULC website, as of October 28, 2012, 8:10 PMCheck back to this space. The Law Weekly will report all updates—as they occur—right here on this page.

UPDATED Tuesday, October 30, 10:00 a.m.

Following announcements for campus closures on Monday and Tuesday, and an advisory to stay indoors Monday evening, Georgetown University administration has declared an all-clear for the main and medical campuses. A HoyAlert email sent 7:53 a.m. reads:

“This message is the official ‘all clear’ lifting the shelter in advisory for the main and medical campuses, however please continue to use caution.  Only go outside if necessary.  Debris is causing slippery conditions, some trees are down and standing water remains in areas off campus. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.”

The HoyAlert emails and automatic calls did not mention the Law Center. However, Georgetown University’s Facebook account includes a recent update (9:05 a.m.) that states: “This is the official ‘all clear’for those at our DC campuses. Please continue to use caution when outdoors.”

UPDATED Monday, October 29, 4:11 p.m.

Students and faculty still on campus at the Law Center are now advised to stay indoors, due to worsening weather conditions, according to an email sent by Edward G. Piper, Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, at 4:01 p.m. This announcement came at the heels of earlier instructions regarding campus closures for Monday and Tuesday. 

In an email to the entire campus, Piper writes that “the safety of all the members of our law community on campus is our primary concern.”

UPDATED Monday, October 29, 10:59 a.m.

Georgetown Law is officially closed for both Monday, October 29, and Tuesday, October 30. 

Georgetown’s HoyAlert system began alerting students to Tuesday’s campus closures at approximately 10:53 a.m. A text message broadcasted by the HoyAlert system informed students: “All Georgetown University campuses in DC Area (MAIN, MED, LAW) closed Tuesday, Oct 29. Call 292-687-SNOW or visit www.georgetown.edu for details.” 

A HoyAlert robo-call ensued shortly after, informing the Georgetown community that campuses in the D.C. metropolitain area will be closed, and that classes have been cancelled for main campus, the medical school, and the law school. However, all emergency personnel “must report to work on time.”

Hurricane Sandy’s estimates have been upgraded to a height of 85 mph winds (from a previous estimate of a height of 75 mph.)

UPDATED Monday, October 29, 10:37 a.m.

Georgetown University has announced that all university campuses in D.C. will be closed Tuesday as well. The HoyAlert system has not yet informed students of the new development. However, as of Monday, 10:37 a.m., the Georgetown Law official website has updated its inclement weather notice. 

The Georgetown University Facebook account posted the announcement at 10:11 a.m.

UPDATED Sunday, October 28, 8:50 p.m.

At 8:44 p.m., Sunday, October 28, Edward G. Piper, Law Center Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, sent a campus-wide email confirming that the Law Center will be closed on Monday due to inclement weather.

“All activities and services, including classes and scheduled events (student organization meetings and events, CLE, and conferences), are canceled.  All administrative offices are closed.  The food services operation, fitness center and Early Learning Center are closed.  The library will be closed.

It is expected that only designated emergency employees will come to the Law Center to fulfill their responsibilities.  All others – including students, staff, faculty, and visitors – are expected not to come to the Law Center, which will not be staffed to support anything other than essential functions.  

The Law Center will continue to monitor developing storm conditions and will communicate a decision regarding its operating status for Tuesday, October 30, in the afternoon on Monday.”

A duplicate email was sent to all students and faculty at 8:55 p.m.

The HoyAlert system automatically called all those registered for the system at approximately 8:45 p.m. with a similar message, regarding campus closure “due to inclement weather.”

Sunday, October 28, 8:17 p.m.

According to a “HoyAlert” bulletin email sent on Sunday, October 28, at 7:30 p.m., the Georgetown Law Center campus is officially closed for Monday, October 29. This announcement occured as Washington, D.C. braces for Hurricane Sandy, set to hit D.C. this coming week.

The text of the email includes the following: “Georgetown University, Georgetown University Medical Center, and Georgetown University School of Medicine ARE CLOSED ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 29.  Emergency personnel must report to work on time.”

Previously, on Friday, October 27, Edward G. Piper, Director of Public Safety and Management, had sent an email to all faculty and students concerning emergency preparations for Hurricane Sandy. Piper wrote that the Law Center would “keep the community updated on possible closings and delays through our website, email, main switchboard (202) 662-9000 and the class cancellation line (202) 662-9446, as well as through the HoyAlert emergency notification system.”

Piper also recommended http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes as a resource for hurricane preparation, and noted that the Law Center’s inclement weather policy is stated in full on the official Georgetown Law website. (The GULC inclement weather policy can be found here:  http://www.law.georgetown.edu/campus-services/public-safety/inclement-weather-policy.cfm.)

According to the Washington Post, ”between Sunday night and Tuesday, we can expect 4-7” of rain and a long period of sustained winds above 35 mph with peak gusts over 60 mph.” The hurricane is expected to hit most severely from Monday into and through Tuesday. Power outages are expected.

The federal government also announced a complete shutdown for Monday. MTA has also announced that all rail and bus service is cancelled for Monday. 

Georgetown Law community members can register for the HoyAlert system here:  http://safety.georgetown.edu/49009.html.

 

School liberalizes library food policy

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For many GULC students, the desks and tables of the Williams and Wolf libraries are a second home. At any available hour, a visitor will find diligent students hovering over a textbook, backs bent and heads bowed. And though the library boasts some of the most important aspects of a domicile–bathrooms, heaters, and functioning WiFi–these nomadic students once faced a bitter choice. Either they were forced to break from their reverie to seek sustenance elsewhere, or violate the rules of the institution they occupied for so many hours by smuggling in morsels to discretely nibble. Fortunately, students no longer have to choose, for the library recently updated its food policy. Prior to the change, only sealed beverages were allowed in the reading room of Williams library and in Wolf. Over the winter break, the library management decided to expand the policy.

“[The change in policy] was due to a number of reasons but one of the primary ones was student comments,” said  Michelle Wu, library director and professor of law. “One of the comments we receive every single year is really about whether we can bring in food.” She explained, “Comments came from people who were spending long hours here, who just wanted to take a quick break and have a snack, but didn’t necessarily want to abandon their books or their laptops to leave the building and have to come back in. Others were from students who were trying to abide by the policy, but noticed that food was getting in so they wondered ‘is it really as much of a danger to the facility?’ so that they couldn’t have any food at all.”

Certain food items will now be acceptable in most areas of both the Williams and Wolf libraries. Specifically, cold foods such as fruit, candy, and crackers, are allowed. Full meals or hot foods remain prohibited. Food of all kinds will still not be permitted on the second floor of Williams, in the Special Collections & Archives, nor in the Media Rooms and Computer Learning Centers. In consideration for these benefits the library asks that all students who bring in food refrain from throwing any uneaten food or scraps in the trash bins within the library. This policy is due to concerns about infestation. Last year rodents were found in the library after food had been left in bins. “Last spring, from what I understand there were rats in the Williams library, not in Hotung or Wolf,” added Professor Wu. “We will usually go get an exterminator to deal with that. But, as long as we had the food policy I think students who were bringing food were also trying to hide it. So we did get a lot of trash in the trashcans, sometimes left overnight, which attributed to the potential for infestation. “When we adopted the policy one of the things we decided is we want to make this a more comfortable facility for everyone, we want people to be able to study and get some nutrition while they’re studying and not feel like they have to abandon the building in order to eat or to go downstairs and leave their stuff. But we would also provide guidelines that would protect the facility and the health of all of our students studying here and if people remove any uneaten food when they leave the library that reduces the chance of having rodents or insects. “

Student response has largely been positive, “I think its a reasonable compromise that carefully weights the students interest of studying comfortably and the library’s interest in clean books,” said Chinyelu K. Lee, a 1L. “I don’t think I’ll be taking advantage of the policy but it’s nice to have it there.”