By: Arielle Pompilius, Copy Editor
The upcoming GOP debate is certain to attract valuable publicity for UNF, but the event could disrupt day-to-day operations for students, faculty and staff. Students whose classes are held in the Fine Arts Center may discover that their classes have been canceled or relocated the day of the debate.
In light of the hectic parking arrangements and increased security measures, some professors have opted to cancel class. Those who elect to hold class have not yet been informed whether or not they will have to relocate. Despite the unclear circumstances, most remain enthusiastic about the debate and the opportunity it presents.
“It’s our understanding that we will be able to offer our classes without interruption,” said Dr. Gordon Brock, chair of the department of music. “That will remain to be seen, of course, but we very pleased to have this event on our campus. It’s democracy in action.”
UNF Music Associate Professor James Scott feels the benefits of hosting the debate far outweigh the inconveniences.
“I know [some professors] might see it as an inconvenience, and I do, too, but I’m looking at the larger scope. I am going to get to see UNF on CNN. You just can’t buy that kind of exposure,” Scott said.
Scott said the debate will encourage students to become aware of current political issues. Many people don’t want to think about politics because the problems are hard, but having the debate here will make them think about politics, Scott said.
While it is undeniable the unprecedented publicity of the event will cause some degree of distraction, Scott attributes much of the discontent over the debate to an opposition to Republicans, as opposed to an opposition to distraction.
“I would be interested in knowing the political standpoint of anyone who opposes the debate,” Scott said. “Like, if it were a Democratic debate, would those people still be opposed?”
Along with increasing publicity, the debate could increase traffic for Chartwells. The Boathouse will be closed for business the day of the debate, but a substitute grill will be set up in Osprey Plaza.
“It is difficult to determine what the overall impact of closing the Boathouse will be,” said Dave Jordan, resident district manager for Chartwells. “There will be increased foot traffic, and with extended hours at other venues and a grill in the plaza, we could actually see increased revenue.”
Regardless of whether Chartwells takes a hit in revenue, Jordan is supportive of the debate.
“This is an opportunity to showcase UNF, and that is more important than one day’s profit,” Jordan said.
A main stipulation, agreed upon by UNF and CNN, for hosting the debate was that the event would not interfere with academic progress. The event is sure to cause disruptions; however, most faculty and staff agree that the exposure is worth one day of disruption.
Debra Murphy, chair of the art and design department, feels the debate will be a positive experience for UNF as a whole.
“It will be a little crazy, but it’s all for the good,” Murphy said.
Email Arielle at [email protected]