What you need to know for the GOP debate
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know the University of Houston is hosting the GOP debate Thursday at the Moore’s Opera House at 7:30 p.m.
“There is no venue more striking on campus, and perhaps in all of Houston, than our Moores Opera House,” Director of Moore’s School of Music Andrew Davis said. “From its acoustical perfection, to its balance of visual grandeur with intimacy of scale, I cannot imagine a better location to host this national event.”
According to Topham, the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication is working to execute a series of interactive programs to engage students and the community via social media during the debate.
“Watch party attendees are encouraged to participate by submitting polling questions using the hashtag #DebateAtUH,” Topham said. “The poll questions will be posted online and exclusively integrated into the watch party experience. These unique interactive points of engagement will add to the excitement of this historic University viewing party.”
With assistance from the University’s IT department a group of students will live tweet the debate using the hashtag #DebateAtUH, another student group will conduct live interactive issue polling and a third group of students will release live reports during commercial breaks, exclusively for watch party guests.
Although this is a spotlight on the University, RNC is in charge of the tickets for the event. The venue selected houses 800 people, 25 seats of which were raffled out Friday randomly to UH students, faculty and staff – not alumni.
“I am aware that the debates are generally in control by the political party in which the debates are affiliated with…is in control of the tickets and I don’t think a lot of people understand that,” Hotel Management junior Care Forkner said.
However, not allowing UH alumni the opportunity to participate in this event was an upset.
“I think that it is great they are offering this opportunity for the students and faculty, but I also feel that the University of Houston should offer it to alumni mainly because the growth of our University has been, I feel, based on the reputation that the alumni have been able to establish for the University,” said Romulo Crespo, a 1996 UH graduate.
Precautionary measures for the safety of both students attending class and guests attending the debate have caused the University to close certain avenues for transportation.
Cullen Boulevard between Holman Street and Elgin Street will be closed Wednesday at 10 p.m. until Friday at 3 a.m. Lots 16B, 16C and 16D will be closed Wednesday at 10 p.m. until Friday at 3 a.m. Gated lots 15A and 15G will go offline Sunday and Wednesday respectively. Campus Loop Shuttle will not be running on Thursday and METRO bus routes will be reworked.
“I feel like the precautions that are being taken are with good intentions but also very disruptive to students, that are not even participating in the event,” Ventura said as a student who parks in one of the closed lots.
“The economy lots at UH already are located in horrible places already, imagine having to park even further to make it to a mandatory class with a professor that doesn’t care about the measures we have to take to get to class.”
As the debate draws near, students are beginning to realize some changes to the campus.
“The fountain is temporarily filled to support the debate,” Topham said. “After debate activities conclude, it will be drained and the fencing will be replaced.”
Despite any drawbacks faculty and students may see, the Faculty Senate values this momentous spotlight on the University as a whole.
“The University of Houston wins with the opportunity to serve our society as part of the political process, and to showcase UH as a model citizen at the forefront of the nation’s intellectual discourse. This is true regardless of one’s individual political leanings,” Faculty Senate President Jonathan Snow said.
The University of Houston shares this belief.
“Hosting such an important public discussion about our country’s future – one that impacts our community locally, nationally and abroad – is precisely in line with our steadfast commitment to leadership and our ongoing academic pursuit of scientific, political and social discourse,” Topham said.