Though not directly involved, SG is excited for the GOP debate

Dargan Thompson

By: Dargan Thompson, Assistant Features Editor


Although UNF student government played a role in getting the GOP debate on campus, they now have no direct involvement with the debate.

When members of SG first heard that the debate was going to be held in Jacksonville, they decided to approach UNF President Delaney to see how UNF students could be involved, said Senate President Carlo Fassi. At that point, they had no idea it would come to UNF, Fassi said.

Delaney said he thought the downtown Times-Union Center would have been a good place for the debate, but the arrangements fell through. When it came out that CNN needed a place to host the debate, several members of SG saw the value of having the debate on campus, said Student Body President Matt Brockelman, and their strong support helped convince the administration that hosting the debate was worth it.

Originally, SG was hoping to have a viewing party in the Boathouse as well as getting some student tickets for the debate inside the Lazzara Performance Hall, Brockelman said. Due to CNN’s strict control of the event, neither is happening.

“From an operational standpoint, CNN really kind of controls it all,” said John Simms, the Assistant Director of Student Government.

Simms said the members of SG talked about organizing viewing parties around campus, but with CNN’s control, there are few suitable locations left on campus for students to congregate. He said SG is encouraging students to watch from home.

“Have some friends over, order a pizza, and that’s it,” Simms said.

SG will have “a handful” of tickets to the viewing in the Robinson Theatre, Simms said, but otherwise they are like any other student group on campus – excited about the event, but not directly involved.

Simms said some students are disappointed that they cannot get into the venue itself for the event, but most understand the security concerns with an event this large.

Brockelman said he is excited about how the debate will allow UNF to be highlighted on national TV. He said he wishes SG could do more, but getting too involved was never his intention.

Simms said he is happy to see the “branding effect” on campus. The banners and UNF logos that are springing up around campus help show our school pride, he said, and they will probably stay up after the event.



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