WESTERVILLE, Ohio – CNN‘s Democratic Presidential Debate scheduled for next Tuesday is causing anger and frustration at Otterbein University. Students, faculty and staff are being displaced on their own campus.
Parking is being scaled back to only a third of what they normally have, which is already insufficient, according to one staff member who did not want to be named.
“Otterbein has a parking problem, we always have. We have room for about 1500 to 1600 cars to park, and now we’ve been cut back to around 500 spaces. Five hundred is approximately the number of staff and faculty – where will students park?” the staff member asked.
On Monday, Westerville’s Facebook page gave a link for details, including road closures. “The Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Otterbein University is fast approaching. As #Westerville prepares for the event, read about planned road closures, parking restrictions, increased security and other important information at www.westerville.org/debate.”
A student who also wanted to remain anonymous, spoke with The Ohio Star about his experience, “As I understand it, no students or faculty are able to use the Rike Center from the 4th through the 16th. This includes classes and training for sports. Instructors are now seeking alternative ways to continue practices and classes.”
“On top of that, classes have been cancelled Wednesday the 16th before 3pm due to the event [on the 15th], making professors have to change their plans on syllabi,” he added.
The Rike Center is the Otterbein facility where the debate will be held.
The current schedule had students on a short break from October 11th through the 15th. As noted by the student, the break has been extended through the day on Wednesday the 16th to allow the various organizations to remove their equipment. Classes prior to 3pm will have to be cancelled.
Another frustrated worker on campus wanted to speak with The Ohio Star, but didn’t want to be named. When asked whether he had experienced any problems with the debate folks, he replied, “It’s just stupid shit. Law enforcement made us get rid of all the trash cans because they can hold a bomb. Now there’s trash everywhere.”
An exasperated Otterbein worker stated, “CNN‘s a bunch of assholes. They are horrible people. They don’t listen to the experts on the ground and constantly seek to go above people’s heads to get their way.
The comment was in reference to CNN‘s remodeling the Rike Center. Those involved have told the cable news crew “no” to many of their demands, only to have CNN speak to the administration to achieve their goals. Last week CNN‘s crew demanded a third bank of gender-neutral bathrooms. Currently the Rike Center only has two small restrooms – one for men and one for women.
Otterbein is a very progressive campus and has added feminine hygiene dispensers in the men’s bathrooms, so it is expected every attempt will be made to accommodate CNN‘s wishes.
The debate will air on Tuesday, October 15th at 8pm.