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Ole Miss Faculty Responds To No Classes During The Debate

This story was written by Tim Summers, Daily Mississippian

The student and faculty's response to the cancelation of classes at the University of Mississippi on Sept. 26 for the presidential debate centers mostly around the a lack of access to the events.

"If the purpose is to allow students to go to campaign events - to see the candidates live - then I think the students should be there," said Andrew Garner, assistant professor of political science. "It's a rare opportunity for students or anybody in Mississippi; it's a state that normally doesn't receive attention."

Parking and access will also be challenges, according to Linda Christian, manager of parking services,

"I think they are doing this for two reasons," said Adam Gussow, associate professor of English and Southern studies. "The first is the purely practical reason that the campus is going to be run over by journalists and the media. The second reason is to give students a chance to focus on all of the lead-in to the debate."

Gussow said another possibility is for students to have full attention in recognizing the event as a symbolic turning point in the university's history.

"Obviously the university has a totally legitimate interest in changing the lingering, negative public perception that this was where the last battle of the Civil War took place in 1962," he said, referring to the riots surrounding James Meredith's integration. "Everyone has done so much to transform that really unfortunate happening. It (the debate) is a symbolic event considering the university's history. It is good for the students to focus on the whole debate."

Stephen Goforth, assistant professor of journalism, said the decision is both good and bad.

"It encourages some (students) to run off and encourages some to be more involved in the debate," he said.

However, students seems to be responding to the decision positively.

Tyler Craft, president of the Ole Miss College Republicans, said the cancellation will have a positive outcome.

"It will give students the opportunity to go to the festivities we are planning," he said. "I hope that people stick around instead of going home on Thursday. It is a great opportunity and it is not everyday the university hosts a debate."

"All I'm saying is, it's three day weekend," Alex Beasley, a junior civil engineering major, said.

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