Pardon the Interruption

Maggie Seppi

By: Maggie Seppi, Assistant News Editor

After CNN’s week-long stay on UNF grounds, faculty, staff and students had few complaints about the disruption caused by the event.

Students and faculty seem to agree UNF’s handling of the event was both organized and professional, despite the closure of the Fine Arts Center parking garage and the increase in visitors the day of the debate.

“The university handled the process absolutely magnificently,” said UNF Art and Design Chair Debra Murphy. “Some classes were cancelled and others were moved to different locations, but nobody seemed to mind. Everyone was cheerful and complimentary.”

John Hail, UNF’s Director of Physical Facilities, said the university succeeded in making accommodations the day of the debate, and he was pleased with the campus’ condition following the event.

“It really went as flawlessly as we could have hoped for,” Hail said. “Looking at the grounds the next day, I was pleasantly surprised. There was very little litter.”

Student perspectives of the accommodations that made the campus debate-ready mirrored those of the faculty.

“I had no real issues getting to class the day of the debate,” said Robert Douglas, a voice performance junior. “I had planned on coming early anyway, but it seemed that students and faculty at the university knew what needed to happen and how to go about doing it.”

Students who had classes in the Fine Arts Center agreed that no real issues presented themselves, aside from limited parking due to the closing of the Fine Arts Center parking garage.

“The only problem I ran into was a lack of parking, but the campus appeared organized and I haven’t heard of anyone else having any problems,” said Heather Kostrna, a senior Psychology major who had classes in the Fine Arts Center Jan. 26.

A bartender at the Boathouse said the restaurant’s day-long closure and losing a few hours pay was worth the publicity UNF gained.

“It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t work,” said Jen Marshburn, a Boathouse bartender. “I thought it was worth it to have all of the press on campus, and some videos on CNN.com were filmed in the Boathouse, so it gave us publicity, too.”

UNF Associate Vice President of Student and International Affairs Everett Malcolm also reported only one incident the day of the debate, which involved the controversial Gainesville, Fla. pastor Terry Jones.

[Terry Jones’ group] came on campus, and they were using an amplified sound device in an area that the university considered a quiet zone. They were informed that they had to move, and they immediately apologized and relocated, Malcolm said.

“I’m happy to report that everything went extremely well,” Malcolm said. “I really applaud the university as a whole because it was a total university-wide effort to have this event run as successfully as it did.”

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