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Gilets Jaunes Demonstrations Update to Parents and Families

This post is a republished version of an email communication sent by AUP President Celeste Schenck to the parents and families of our current students on January 17, 2019, about the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations. It is part of our Safety & Security blog that rounds up all the latest news and updates for our community.

Dear AUP Parents and Guardians,  

It's been a pleasure this week to welcome our new freshmen, transfers, visitors, and graduate students for Orientation, as well as to greet in the halls and between buildings a good number of our returning students. The new semester is off and running! Many of you will have received messages from me in December about the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations in France. As of this update, we’re classifying the demonstrations, although ongoing, as a continuing situation to be managed, but no longer cause for crisis communications. For as long as they continue, we invite you to read our updated advice and official University position on our Security page of the public website (www.aup.edu/security). We have written separately to each of your children with our current advice below.  

The Gilets Jaunes demonstrations, still scheduled for this tenth Saturday, are ongoing, but they have diminished greatly in intensity and strength since the week before the holidays. At this point, the government has responded in a number of ways, and the Parisian populace appears to be going about its business in and around what have become, for the most part, orderly marches. This past Saturday I visited the January sales with my son, along with tens of thousands of Parisians, while the demonstrations went on peacefully around us.  

While this week we are strongly advising students to stay away from the demonstrations themselves, we will not be advising them to remain indoors all day as we did in the fall. Because we worked together closely as a community, we had not a single incident during the most difficult weekends in the fall. It continues to be critical to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time, so we are advising students not to take risks, to avoid large gatherings or crowds, and to remain attentive to their surroundings. Campus buildings scheduled to be open this weekend will remain so.  

Please remind your child to attend to each of the following security measures:

  1. They need to update their Student Profile (https://my.aup.edu/user/me/contact-info) with their current cell phone number so that we can reach them by text using our mass communications system in case of emergencies. 
  2. Students should enter our emergency number 06 11 68 76 44 into their cell phone contacts and use the number only for appropriate purposes.
  3. Finally, AUP students should install our free International SOS app on their phone (https://www.internationalsos.com/assistance-app), permitting them with a swipe of the finger to call for help 24/7 and 365 days a year, no matter where in the world they may find themselves. 

It is unlikely this weekend that they will need any of this, but they should be prepared nonetheless. We are nagging them, but your nagging is likely to help too. Please tell them to take a moment to do these three things.   

Henceforth, beginning this week, our updates on the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations will appear on the Safety and Security Updates page of our public website on both the student and parent pages: www.aup.edu/securityA digital library of the fall communications appears there, as well as ongoing updates each week pinpointing the location of the demonstrations and laying out the University’s advice to students week by week. We invite you to check back each Thursday or Friday for information, as long as the demonstrations last. If the security situation is heightened, we will push our messages to you in advance of the demonstrations. Should we sense the need to update our advice over the weekend, we will text students with additional information or warnings about particular locations to avoid. 

Partners with you always in the education of your children, and in their safety and security,  

Celeste Schenck