For the past eight months, University of Miami officials, alongside local, state and national agencies, have been developing and coordinating security procedures for this week’s Presidential debate.
With the unprecedented high level of security on campus comes the necessity for all students, faculty and staff to visibly display their ‘Cane Cards at all times through Thursday. Consequently, guests may only visit the campus for specific University events until Wednesday night. Security personnel will stop individuals who do not have identification properly displayed, and a process of identifying the individual will ensue.
“It’s a hassle you want to avoid,” Dr. Patricia Whitely, vice president of Student Affairs, said. “This is a very high-level security event and it’s positive that we have the support of law enforcement and Secret Service, but students have to cooperate.”
Josh Borgshulte, junior, agrees.
“I think everybody should treat security personnel with respect because they are carrying a lot of responsibility,” Borgschulte said.
While residential colleges are not going to be significantly affected by any of the security measures, Whitely recognized a possibility in the apartment area of a number of buildings being searched for about an hour. She emphasized, however, that no students are going to be asked to relocate.
“No one is being displaced or being asked to leave for an evening,” she said.
Despite months of planning, administrators admit that commuters should expect delays. Street closures will be announced in advance online. Metrorail service will be suspended on Thursday at the University Station on Ponce de Leon, but Miami-Dade County transit will be providing transportation from South Miami and Douglas stations to campus. Additionally, mail and package delivery will be suspended on Thursday to a number of locations on campus, including residential colleges.
Nevertheless, students feel the security measures in place are not too inconvenient and at the same time are making the university safer than ever.
“I think everything is going pretty smoothly and as long as students cooperate it should be fine,” senior Ryan Lindsay said.
In fact, Lindsay admits that more students feel cheated about not being able to attend the debate than the limits security has placed on them.
Getting inside the Convocation Center will be a microcosm of the week-long security procedures alone. Only those who have been issued credentials from the Commission on Presidential Debates will be allowed in, and will go through extensive security checks.
>> For updated security information, as well as information on street closures, visit www.miami.edu/debate04.
Paul Fajardo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.