The Congressional press conference defines Day 7 of the GW encampment

Republican representatives of the House Oversight Committee visited the University Yard encampment at George Washington University on Wednesday afternoon.

Lawmakers then held a press conference at the scene calling for the encampment to be cleared and criticizing D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for clearing the encampment. to refuse to deploy the Metropolitan Police after GW support requested.

Thursday marks one week of the encampment at GW’s University Yard, and there are still more than 50 tents on the lawn and H Street block between 20th and 21st streets.

Present from the committee were Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Representative Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL), Representative Eric Burlison (R-MO) and Rep. Wiliam Timmons (R-SC).

GW administration met with the officials prior to their tour of the University Yard.

Bowser spoke at a news conference later that evening about the lawmakers’ visit and said she is aware of protests happening in their own states, specifically addressing Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the Committee on Education and the Workforce .

“I’ve seen a lot of activity in North Carolina, it seems like that’s where her energy would be best placed,” Bowser said. On April 26, students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University set up an encampment on the UNC campus.

The representatives, escorted by uniformed security and swarmed by protesters, press and onlookers, shuffled through the sea of ​​tents as a group of demonstrators quietly chanted to the side.

While walking through University Yard, Donalds denounced the encampment and accused protesters of hindering “other people’s ability to do what they need to do in their lives.”

“The students do not have a deed that entitles them to the GW campus. You pay to be here. If the school says an activity is off limits and they ask you to leave, they have the right to do so. The same way you would do it on your property,” Donalds told student protesters.

Donalds also claimed that “the university believes most of the protesters are not even students to begin with.” His statement reflects one increasingly common claim used to justify police actions against pro-Palestinian camps across the country, including: Tuesday evening scavenger hunt from the Columbia University encampment.


As the group walked past a statue of George Washington, Boebert attempted to pull down the Palestinian flag tied around the statue’s neck before her security escorted her away.

Only the statue’s eyes are now visible, as protesters have wrapped its head with keffiyeh, placed signs at its feet and painted slogans on the front of the statue’s base.

a letter signed by Foxx and Comer was sent to both Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith on Tuesday. The letter called on Bowser and Smith to “fully respond to the reluctance to enforce the law.”

The House Oversight Committee will be Interrogate Bowser and Smith during a Congressional hearing next Wednesday on their response to the GW encampment. According to The Washington PostCommittee Republicans want to “use the hearing to force more aggressive police action at the demonstration.”

“We are alarmed by reports that (MPD) has rejected requests from (GWU) officials to assist in removing the radical, anti-Semitic and unlawful protesters who have been encamped on the university campus and surrounding area for several days public lands of the District of Columbia,” they said. mentioned in the letter.

U.S. University Student Government Senator Kaden Ouimet has been to the camp on and off since the first day on April 25. He told The Eagle he has not experienced what lawmakers described in their letter.

“I’ve just felt a sense of community, a sense of love and a sense of solidarity,” Ouimet said. ‘Hate has no place in our encampment. Anti-Semitism has no place in our camp.”

Wearing a Reagan-Bush T-shirt and an American flag tied around his neck, Michael Brown, a second-year GW at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, said he thinks the representatives’ calls are valid.

“I want to be honest, it’s like, this is fucking bullshit,” Brown told the Eagle. “There are people at law school who pay tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars to go here, and they have to listen to all this nonsense all day, every day, as they try to take their exam. “

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William Youman, an associate professor at GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs, called the press conference “big” and not a “real debate or discussion.”

“I would just say that they should read the Constitution,” he said of the visiting representatives.

Youman said the GW government should negotiate with the protesters to find a “peaceful solution for a peaceful protest,” instead of sending police or “using violence against nonviolent protesters.”

“That is just very unwise. And it goes against the purpose of the university and is also troubling from a freedom of expression perspective,” Youman said.

Boebert called the signs she saw at the camp disgusting.

She told the press that she saw signs reading “Queer and transgender people for liberated Palestine,” “Gays for Gaza,” “Lesbians for Palestine,” “Chinese for Palestine,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free are” and “All cops are jerks.”

“Let me be clear: Nearly every person in this so-called liberated zone would be eviscerated by the terrorists you stand here supporting,” Boebert continued.

Boebert also called out faculty who support the camp, saying that if “they don’t do anything to address (the camp),” they “could kiss their federal funding goodbye.”

According to The axeBoebert told a reporter that the encampment may be reaching the point where Bowser would have to call in the National Guard, as Bowser “has not allowed the Metropolitan Police to do their job.”

No arrests have been made at the GW encampment so far, although there have been removed by GW Police.

As arrests of protesters on campuses nationwide approach 1,000with only two schools While successfully negotiating with protesters, DMV students show no signs of slowing down.

“What they are doing is incredibly courageous, and it calls attention to the genocide that our Congress fully supports, that our president has supported,” Youman said. “This is the conscience of the country, and we must protect that conscience.”

This article was edited by Walker Whalen, Tyler Davis and Abigail Turner. Copy editing provided by Luna Jinks and Isabelle Kravis.

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