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Many Downtown Colleges Canceling Classes During NATO Summit

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Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Thousands of Chicago college students will get a real-life lesson in tight security during the NATO summit in less than two weeks.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports some students will be locked out of their downtown campuses during the summit.

Robert Morris University, DePaul University, John Marshall Law School, Roosevelt University, Columbia College and more than 15 other colleges with campuses in or near the Loop will be canceling classes and closing campus buildings for the summit.

It’s just the third week of the summer quarter at Robert Morris University, but just as students are settling in, classes are about to be cancelled. In fact, the university’s entire building in the Loop will be locked from May 18 May 21, because of the NATO summit.

“The external doors will all be locked.” Robert Morris provost Mablene Krueger said. “We will have 10 security officers on this first floor of this building, so that they can monitor what’s happening on the street, on the sidewalks.”

Security will be intense, because Robert Morris – like other universities and colleges in the downtown Chicago – is just blocks away from the hotels where NATO leaders will be staying, and walking distance from Grant Park – where protesters plan to gather for a major rally on the first day of the summit.

“I think, for our personal safety, that it’s really good that they are closing the school,” Robert Morris student Angel Kendall said.

Safety is one concern. Transportation is another, because many buses going in and out of the Loop will be rerouted during the summit, due to street closures.

Students at Robert Morris will continue classes from home, by going online.

Some schools are simply moving classes from their downtown campuses to other Chicago area campuses.

Students who take classes at Northwestern University’s or DePaul University’s downtown campuses must travel to their respective school’s northern campuses – in Evanston for Northwestern, and in Lincoln Park for DePaul

“I’m having it at the same time, with the same teacher, the same class, and everything; just in Lincoln Park,” one DePaul student said.

At Roosevelt University, the summer session started a week early, to accommodate the school closing for the summit, so students won’t miss out at all.

“They will not miss any work whatsoever. They will have the same number of classes, and the same number of classroom hours as they would have had otherwise,” Roosevelt University vice provost Samuel Rosenberg said.

As for the faculty at Roosevelt, when the building is closed, some employees will report to the school’s Schaumburg campus. Others will have an unexpected paid vacation.

Staff at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will enjoy the same luxury.

“It’s a long weekend. I think everybody would enjoy that,” one employee said.

There are a handful of downtown colleges – like Harold Washington College – that are still scheduled to be open during the summit, but that could change. It’s important for students to keep checking with their school about plans for the summit.