Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden is parking his two-day bus tour at the Athens County Fairgrounds today, despite wanting to appear on Ohio Universitys campus.
The Barack Obama and Joe Biden campaign came to OU last week to look at outdoor venues on campus, like the Wilhelm Amphitheater outside of Scripps Hall. However, the use of sound systems are only permitted during certain hours because the noise interferes with classes said Rebecca Watts, chief of staff for President Roderick McDavis, who voted Democratic in the primaries.
They asked for an exception, Watts said, but she was unable to grant one and offered several alternative indoor venues like Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium and The Convo, but she said the campaign didnt like them and Bidens schedule was not flexible.
OU told the campaign that there were policies restricting the use of sound systems on campus, said Rich Carpinelli, associate vice president for Budget and Operations, adding that the policy is not set in stone but is judged on a case-by-case basis.
The policy states restrictions for the use of outdoor spaces on campus. When Gov. Ted Strickland (D) came to OU in September, he was able to speak at Wilhelm Amphitheater because it started after 5 p.m., when most classes are over. The campaign worked with OU officials and the decision to hold the event at the fairgrounds was in everyones best interest, said Tom Reynolds, Obamas Ohio deputy communications director.
We would have loved to have the event on campus, but listened to the schools concerns, Reynolds said.
Sen. Bidens staff members told OU their decision to move to the fairgrounds on Saturday, said Todd Coogen, associate director and production manager for the Office of University Events.
We ultimately knew they were looking at it, Coogen said. Not only did his staff members want an outside location but a place with available parking for everyone so more people would be able to attend, said Liz Clark, OU chapter coordinator for Students for Barack Obama.
Everyone will be able to come to the event, which I think is the most important thing, Clark said. But it would have been great to have it on campus. It might have been easier for students.Doors open for Sen. Bidens presentation at 8:30 a.m. today and the program begins at 10:30 a.m.. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
Senior Amber Miller was not aware that Sen. Biden was coming to Athens, but whether or not he is on campus doesnt matter.
Thats awesome, she said. Either way I would go to see him.