Burwell calls pro-Trump mob that stormed US Capitol ‘threat to democracy’

Mayor Bowser orders curfew following riots

Burwell calls pro-Trump mob that stormed US Capitol ‘threat to democracy’

In this October 2019 file photo, Trump supporters demonstrate during the March for Trump.

Correction and update: This article has been corrected since it was first published to clarify that an AU-branded bus photographed transporting National Guard personnel was not previously owned by the University. It has also been updated with comments from a University-wide email sent by President Sylvia Burwell Thursday.

In a University-wide email sent Thursday evening, President Sylvia Burwell called on the American University community to “address the systemic challenges on display and to care for each other,” following a pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 

Burwell also said that the effects of these events on communities of color and systemic racism must be confronted too. 

“The events at the Capitol were the antithesis of our AU community’s values of dignity, justice, inclusion, and truth,” she wrote. “While we reckon with the challenges of this moment, we will continue to act in pursuit of those values. That includes the antiracism work fundamental to our university, and the overall pursuit of knowledge, truth, community, and progress that is central to our mission and critical to further our democracy.”

Burwell wrote that the University will continue to monitor events and adjust security precautions if necessary and that AU is focused on risks that may arise around the presidential inauguration. She urged students to take care of both their physical and emotional well-being and to download apps such as the AU Rave Guardian Safety app and to make use of resources like the Counseling Center and Kay Spiritual Life Center. 

While most staff are currently working remotely, Burwell said in her email that the University is supporting the team members and making alternate arrangements for those whose presence is still required on campus. 

On Wednesday, Burwell condemned the right-wing rioters on Twitter, calling their actions “a threat to democracy.”

Burwell denounced the mob, tweeting, “There is no place in our society for violence or attacks on our democratic institutions and the people who diligently serve our nation. We condemn the rioters and stand united in support of our democracy and those defending it.” 

Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw tweeted Wednesday that the events marked "a sad and distressing day in America."

“AUPD has increased patrols and visibility on campus and on our off-site locations,” said Assistant Vice President of University Police Phillip Morse in an email to The Eagle. “This has been done as a precaution and to give confidence to our community should they be using our facilities. We will continue to monitor events and adjust our security precautions as necessary.” 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted a 12-hour curfew following the forced entry of right-wing rioters into the Capitol Building and chambers, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and lifting at 6 a.m. Thursday. Media and other essential workers are exempt from the order, Bowser said. 

Bowser also extended a public emergency order Wednesday, leading up to the inauguration.

The mob forced the Capitol into lockdown and halted the count of electoral votes, forcing lawmakers and staff to evacuate. According to the Associated Press, one person was shot inside the Capitol Building.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Dustin Sternbeck said the woman shot had died, according to CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

WMATA announced Wednesday that Metrorail and Metrobus services would end services at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, in the “interest of public safety.” 

Lisa Stark, a University spokesperson, clarified that an AU-branded bus photographed transporting National Guard personnel to the Capitol was not previously owned by the University. 

news@theeagleonline.com 

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