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Northwestern Prepares for NATO Summit in May

Planning underway to ready University for potential impacts

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March 29, 2012 | by Storer H. Rowley
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University officials are meeting to develop University preparations for the NATO summit slated to be held in Chicago May 20-21. Although the main events for the conference will not be held near either the Chicago or Evanston campus, University leaders are looking at potential impacts and how Northwestern can best be prepared.

The University will remain open for business, but there will be some changes in class locations, academic schedules and activities, mainly on the Chicago campus.

Offices involved in the planning include University Police, Facilities Management, Emergency Management, Risk Management, Financial Operations, Research Safety, University Services, Human Resources, University Relations, Student Affairs, Information Technology, Law School, Feinberg, Kellogg, Medill and Continuing Studies.

“We want to be proactive and take a look at all the areas of the University’s operations in order to determine what impacts there may be,” said University Police Chief Bruce Lewis. “We’re hopeful that there will be little effect on our operations, but we want to be prepared.”

The University Police Department already has been involved in summit briefings with federal agencies and the Chicago Police Department, Lewis said.

Much of the planning is focused on the Chicago campus since the NATO events will be held in Chicago. However, the group is considering all aspects of the University’s operations, he said.

Some schools will change their schedules and academic program locations to minimize any potential disruptions from the NATO activities.

The Kellogg School of Management has announced that its facilities at Wieboldt Hall will be closed May 18 – 21. Other changes:   

  • Part-time classes scheduled for Saturday, May 19, will be moved to the Allen Center.
  • Part-time classes scheduled for Monday, May 21, will be rescheduled to Friday, May 18, at the Jacobs Center.
  • Part-time and full-time Memorial Day make-up classes originally scheduled for Friday, May 18, will be moved to Friday, May 11.
  • Kellogg is encouraging students from its part-time, EMBA and Executive Education Programs to prepare accordingly when booking flights and planning travel to Evanston, in anticipation of the high influx of people into the city.

The School of Continuing Studies will move its Loop operations to Wieboldt Hall during the summit. Law School classes will not be in session at that time.

At this time, University offices are expected to be open during normal business hours on Monday, May 21. However, because commuting may be more difficult, employees who drive to the Chicago campus may want to consider alternatives to driving, such as public transit and other forms of commuting.

Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said that if it becomes necessary, the University will use its emergency communications system to advise Northwestern community members about changes in the University’s operations.

University officials are advising students, faculty and staff members to make sure their Northwestern photo ID cards are current and to make sure their emergency contact information is up to date with Human Resources.

Thousands of foreign dignitaries, journalists and other visitors from around the world are expected to be in Chicago for the NATO summit, the first time an American city other than Washington, D.C. has hosted such a conference. In the past such summits have attracted demonstrators to host cities.