By Tim Haggerty Hoya Staff Writer

Citing concerns for student safety amidst the planned rallies and protests in the district this weekend, organizers announced the postponement of the annual Diplomatic Ball.

Protesters plan to converge on the World Bank and International onetary Fund meetings this weekend – just several blocks from the Corcoran Gallery Art, the dance’s location.

The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Diplomatic Ball Committee announced that the event, originally scheduled for Saturday evening, would be held on April 29.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art made the decision to postpone all weekend events at the urging of the police, a representative from the gallery said.

The gallery stands in the middle of an eight-block zone where authorities have beefed up security to prepare for the weekend rallies. Inside this zone, police have removed all mailboxes and urged merchants to move inside all loose items such as tables, chairs and flowerpots.

These concerns arise from the devastation left in the wake of the Seattle protests earlier this year. Protesters decrying the World Trade Organization left the city’s streets in shambles and storefront windows shattered.

Metropolitan Police say they are prepared for the protests – with the entire department on 12-hour shifts, days off canceled and leave suspended, according to an MPD press release.

Last year’s Dip Ball was held at the World Bank, the site of some of the primary weekend meetings and expected protests.

Students say that the postponement creates an inconvenience.

Laura Wilkicki (MSB ’03) said, “Dip Ball being postponed is incredibly disappointing. My weekend was built around the event. My boyfriend was able to rent a tux for the 29th instead of this weekend, but the rental people were irritated because everyone is changing. I don’t know when they made the decision to postpone it, but they didn’t do a particularly stellar job of making it known . maybe they could have sent an e-mail warning us of the possibility that it might be postponed earlier on in the week.”

However, local shopkeepers said that they plan to work with students to minimize inconveniences and extra costs resulting from the postponement.

Ed Soloman, owner of Anthony’s Tuxedos on P Street, said that he is moving the tuxedo rentals to April 29 with no charge. Approximately 175 to 225 students rent tuxedos for Dip Ball from his shop each year, Soloman said. He said that only one student has canceled a rental because of the postponement, and Soloman plans to charge a small fee to cover expenses for cleaning and tailoring the tuxedo.

“I’ve been working with Georgetown University students for years, and this has never happened . it is a logistical nightmare,” Soloman said.

Randy Goldberg, an employee at Greenworks Florist on O Street, said that the shop’s employees called students to ask if they wanted their orders postponed. The florist would not charge extra for the postponement, he said.

Along with the Dip Ball, the Afterball has been postponed, according to Vishal Mahtani (MSB ’01) a promoter for Event Concepts Incorporated, an off-campus organization that runs the event scheduled to follow the Dip Ball. Organizers planned to have buses from the Corcoran Gallery of Art to the Eleventh Hour, at the intersection of 14th and P Streets, where the Afterball was to be held.

“We decided that since Dip Ball was canceled, Afterball will be postponed to the same date as Dip Ball,” Mahtani said.

Mahtani said that group has not yet spoken to the Eleventh Hour about the date shift. “With any luck, it should go ahead,” Mahtani said.

The weekend’s other events remain on schedule.

The D.C. Schools Project Charity Gala will be at the originally scheduled time and location, according to Cassandra Lyons (COL ’02), coordinator of the D.C. Schools Project Parent Program. Lyons said that between 250 and 300 people are expected for the 8 p.m. event at the New Zealand Embassy, 3700 Observatory Avenue.

“We don’t have any concerns for the weekend . the embassy is pretty far away from downtown,” Lyons said.

Black Student Alliance’s Visions of Excellence dance will still be held on Saturday evening at the Wyndham City Hotel on New Hampshire Avenue, according to Paula Rosario (COL ’02), a member of the dance’s planning committee.

Related Links

GSC, Protestors Descend on D.C. Weekend Rallies (4/12)

Dip Ball Tickets Sell Out in Two Hours (3/21)

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