DC mayor agrees to testify at House hearing on GW protests

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) will testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday in a hearing focused on the pro-Palestinian protests at George Washington University (GW).

A spokesperson for the committee confirmed her attendance on Tuesday, nearly a week after she was asked by the panel’s chair to testify. Bowser’s office has also confirmed to The Hill that she will testify tomorrow.

The hearing follows a visit to GW’s campus and its pro-Palestinian encampment by members of the Oversight Committee, including Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). While visiting, some lawmakers verbally clashed with the protesters there, and Boebert expressed her displeasure with a Palestinian flag on a statue of George Washington near the encampment.

“If the faculty here, who many are involved in this right now — I had people proudly saying that they are faculty — and not wanting to remove a Palestinian sign from the George Washington statue. If they don’t want to do something to address this? Well, then kiss your federal funding goodbye,” Boebert said at the time.

On the day of that visit, Comer announced a hearing focused on the protests at GW, and called Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith as witnesses. The Washington Post reported late last month that MPD decided to not accept requests from GW officials to clear the encampment at the university shortly after it began.

“The House Oversight Committee is deeply concerned over reports indicating the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department rejected George Washington University’s request for help in removing the radical, antisemitic, and unlawful protestors occupying the campus and surrounding public lands,” Comer said in a statement.

D.C. police later defended their decision to not clear the encampment as it has gone on, with Smith stating if the encampment continues to be peaceful, it will not be cleared, according to a report from NBC Washington.

“I think here in the District of Columbia, we allow people the opportunity to have freedom of speech, and that’s what we’re seeing right now. There has been no violence, no violent behavior, no confrontations,” Smith said, according to an MPD spokesperson. “If the behavior changes, then our procedures and our process might change.”

The Hill has reached out to GW.

Updated at 3:37 pm.

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