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The Overview Published: May 7, 2024

WSJ Editorial Board: Congress Steps in as D.C. Officials Ignore Campus Calls for Assistance with Removing Unlawful Protests

WASHINGTON—The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board today discussed how House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and Republican lawmakers are right to raise concern about the Metropolitan Police Department’s lack of action towards requests from officials at the George Washington University to assist in removing radical, antisemitic, and unlawful protestors encamped on the university’s campus.

Key Excerpts:

“Universities have needed law enforcement support to remove illegal anti-Israel encampments from campus, but what if the police won’t come? That’s what’s happening at George Washington University, where District of Columbia police are refusing to help the school re-establish order on campus.

“On Thursday Metropolitan Police chief Pamela Smith said there had been ‘no violent behavior, no confrontations’ and so police wouldn’t be coming to campus. ‘We allow people the opportunity to have freedom of speech, and that’s what we’re seeing right now.’

“Is she even looking? In a letter to the school community on Sunday, GW President Ellen Granberg disagreed. From the moment the students established an ‘illegal and potentially dangerous occupation of GW property,’ she wrote, they were ‘in direct violation of multiple university policies.’”


“It’s fair to wonder if the D.C. police aren’t refusing for fear of offending the city’s anti-police politicians. Morale is low in the D.C. force, and by spring of 2023 the district had fewer cops than any time in 50 years.”


“Congress, which has ultimate authority over the district, has noticed. In a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.) and James Comer (R. Ky.) said that if police ‘refuse to exercise their authority to assist GWU in securing the safety of its students and faculty, Congress will be obliged to exercise its legislative powers to do so.’”

Read the full editorial here.

Last week, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Pamela Smith raising concerns about the District of Columbia MPD refusing to answer campus administrators’ calls for assistance and enforce the law. Lawmakers on the Committee also met with George Washington University leadership and toured the antiemetic, unlawful encampment on the university’s campus. The Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to seek answers from Mayor Bowser and MPD Chief Smith on the city’s response to campus protests occurring at George Washington University.

READ MORE: Oversight Committee Republicans: DC Officials Must Take Action Against Pro-Hamas Camp and Restore the Rule of Law