University of Virginia officials declined President Barack Obama’s request to use the campus as a venue for a re-election campaign speech. Obama campaign staffers met with University of Virginia administrators on Friday to discuss the use of an outdoor area for a campaign speech next Wednesday. Virginia university officials felt hosting an Obama campaign speech on the campus would require cancelling or disrupting classes and denied the president access for the campaign speech, according to the Daily Mail.
President Obama will now be giving his re-election campaign speech at a downtown pedestrian mall, the Charlottesville Pavilion. According to a University of Virginia release, President Barack Obama requested used of two outdoor campus venues – the Harrison-Small Library Plaza and the Amphitheater. Virginia university officials were reportedly concerned about a disruption on campus two days into the fall semester, according to the Washington Post.
Virginia Democratic Party Statement:
“We’re proud that he’s coming. We’re very excited that he’s coming to Charlottesville, regardless of where in Charlottesville. Charlottesville is known for the University of Virginia, so I don’t think that’s going to be missed on anyone.”
In addition to a possible disruption of classes, University of Virginia also reportedly felt buildings adjacent to the outdoor venues would possibly need to be closed due to the Obama campaign speech as well. Typically, 186 classes occur during a single day on the University of Virginia campus.
If the University of Virginia had allowed President Obama to hold a campaign event on campus, the school would have been responsible for the full cost of event security. Because the University of Virginia receives both state and federal tax exempt status, the school would have had to allow the Mitt Romney equal access and security – if the Romney campaign requested site usage.