Frequently Asked Questions for Students

For the latest information, visit the Campus Updates section of this site.

What is the university doing to keep me safe?
Your safety and well-being are our number one priority and that is why we are taking this situation very seriously. Our greatest hope is for a peaceful response to the grand jury announcement. However, we have to be prepared for any possible situation. A group of university leaders has developed a solid response plan that anticipates many different scenarios. The Washington University Police Department is in regular contact with other law enforcement organizations, so we have the latest information about what is happening. We will respond appropriately to maintain the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

How am I going to know if there is a serious threat?
We will continue to share information as we have it – via email and on the university’s website. Regular updates will be posted here at 7 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. If the situation presents a serious threat, you will receive an emergency alert that will indicate you should take immediate action to remain safe. We also will post important information at

Is there anything I should do right now?
Just as a precaution, we suggest you check your contact information in WebSTAC to make sure it is up-to-date so we can reach you by email and text. You also might follow the university’s Twitter feed because we could – if necessary – use that channel to communicate with the community, as well.

I’m traveling for Thanksgiving. What should I know about transportation?
At last report, Lambert St. Louis Airport was functioning normally. Up-to-date information is available at All public transportation is currently up and running in St. Louis. Visit Metro St. Louis for any updates.

Shuttle options:

  • The university is providing a free airport shuttle on Wednesday (November 26) from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., departing every half hour on the half-hour from the Clocktower on the South 40. 
  • A student-run business, “U-Shuttle,” will be running shuttles to the airport from the South 40 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday (November 25). The cost is $10/ride and tickets available at
  • The university also has set up a shuttle from the Clocktower to the Big Bend MetroLink station, running every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Monday, (November 24), Tuesday (November 25), Saturday (November 29) and Sunday (November 30).
  • Taxis are available by calling County Cab at 314-993-TAXI (8294), Laclede Cab at 314-652-3456, or another local cab company.

I live off-campus. Is there anything specific I should know?
As always, the Washington University Police Department is keeping a close watch on the areas surrounding the university. They also are in close contact with law enforcement organizations throughout the region, particularly in adjacent municipalities. We will keep students living off-campus informed of developments in the same way we will communicate with all members of our community. Email and text messages will be important channels we will use, particularly if there is a threat to your safety and well-being, so make sure your contact information in WebSTAC is up-to-date. Knowing this is a stressful time, please reach out to available resources if you need support – your residential or academic adviser or student health services on the Danforth and Medical School campuses.

I am really passionate about the social justice issues raised by the situation in Ferguson. How can I learn more and productively and meaningfully engage in finding solutions to these very difficult challenges?
This is a challenging time for the St. Louis region. The recent tragic events we’ve experienced have at their core deep-seated and difficult societal issues. All of us can be part of a constructive process to address these issues and make the region stronger. Events have been taking place across our campuses to explore the issues, share perspective, and learn from one another. Following the grand jury decision, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Social Justice Center will host opportunities specifically for students to get together in meaningful dialogue. We will share information with you directly when it is available. For students who would like to be more actively involved, the Social Justice Center has information about volunteer opportunities and other ways to engage with community organizations and advocacy efforts.

Will we be able to gather peacefully on campus?
Absolutely. Expressing perspective and concern is a very important part of your university experience. Peaceful gatherings are always allowed, but do need to follow university guidelines so there is no disruption to university operations. An important consideration will be if we need to respond to a serious threat to safety on our campuses, you’ll be asked to remain in a safe place.

What about off-campus activity following the grand jury announcement?
Use your best judgment. If it is possible to express yourself in a safe and thoughtful way while remaining on campus, we encourage you to do so. If you plan to join activities off campus, please:

  • Travel in groups – do not travel alone.
  • Let others know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Carry a charged cell phone and identification with you.
  • Follow the instructions of law enforcement if asked to leave an area.
  • If a situation becomes violent, move immediately to a safe location.

I don’t feel comfortable participating in protest activity. Are there any other options for me to engage?
By all means. You can share your perspective here on our Voices page and/or join one of the small group gatherings hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Social Justice Center. There will be other opportunities to learn about the issues and explore possible solutions, so be sure to check the listing of campus events.

I’m feeling very anxious and overwhelmed, and I’m worried about my class work. Where can I get support?
We know this may be a stressful time. If you need support, please reach out to your resident or academic adviser, a professor, a friend or a family member. The student health centers on the Danforth and Medical School campuses offer a wide-range of services and support, as well.

Will the university give me an extension on my due dates for assignments?
We will not have a university-wide policy on extensions because every situation is unique. Please talk directly to your professor or adviser if you are having challenges with your workload.

My parents are anxious for news, as well. Is there a way for them to get information straight from the university?
Yes. You can encourage them to bookmark the following websites where we will be sharing information and regular updates: The Grand Jury Announcement section on this site, Wash U Voices, and We also will be sharing communication via email. If they’ve not yet received an email and would like to be added to the contact list, they can do so by sending a message to:

It feels as if there is a lot of over-preparation and speculation. Why is the university doing so much now, when we don’t even know the outcome yet?
Our greatest hope continues to be for a peaceful resolution to the tension in our region. At the same time, we have to take this situation seriously. We are taking every precaution to ensure we can respond effectively and efficiently to any potential situation, particularly any situation that compromises the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. The best possible result would be that we do not have to put any of these plans into action. But protecting life, property and rights always will be our highest priority.