A flicker of hope flashed across Facebook and Twitter Wednesday, after re-tweets and shares spread a Student Government (SG) link offeringstudents a chance to sign upfor standby tickets to the NBC Republican National Debate being held on campus Monday.
“Allocation for tickets is still to be determined and you will be contacted via phone or email if you are selected as one of the recipients,” the form said when posted around 1:45 p.m. “NOTE: If you submityour information in this form, you may be subject to abackground check by the United States Secret Service.”
Yet, before 2:30 p.m., the form said, “Oops! Something went wrong. The form ‘Google Form’ is no longer accepting responses,” and the posts on Facebook and Twitter were deleted.
SG Associate Director of Communications Vincent DeFrancesco said the link was posted prematurely, and that the tickets would not be offered at that time.
“What happened was that there was a bit of amiscommunication,” he said. “We put up the link inanticipation that we wouldhave some standby positions available for students. If there were any seats in the theatershortly before the debate that were empty, we wouldrandomly choose one of the standbys and allow them to come in if the person the ticket was reserved for didn’t show up. However, there was amiscommunication and we’re not sure we will have anystandby positions available forstudents.”
DeFrancesco said SG had no student tickets to offer thepublic as of Wednesday,
At 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, SG Director of Governmental Affairs Lindsay Lewis sent an email to all SG senators
offering them possible standby seats at the debate.
“I have been asked toprovide names of studentsthat would be availableMonday night asstandbys for seats inside the debate,” she wrote. “Due to time sensitivity I am going to submit the names of allsenators…Again, this is onlystandby, so this is NOT aguarantee for a ticket, but weneed to have students on standby in case people do not show up and there are seats to fill.”
USF spokeswoman LaraWade-Martinez said that while there would be an unknown number of tickets available for students, the recipients would be preselected.
“We need to make sure that whatever tickets we have go to students who can be cleared through security and all that kind of good stuff,” she said. “We’re working with Student Government to make sure the tickets are distributed appropriately. We just need to make sure we do the right thing and (the students) are vetted appropriately.”
Wade-Martinez could notcomment on what a securityscreening process would entail.She said the number of available tickets would remain unknown until NBC’s setup for the debate is complete.
“I think (SG) thought they’d have more time and be able to distribute tickets in a more open forum, but because of the short amount of time we’re going to have to get thesetickets distributed and get these seats filled, I think we’re going tohave to do it in a morestreamlined way, which is why I think they ended up taking (the post) down,”Wade-Martinez said.
The process by whichstudents would be selected, shesaid, has yet to be determined.
For those unable to attend, a watchparty hosted by SG will be set up in a tent outside thetheater in the MLK Plaza. An online article on ABC Action News said the watch party would cost $20,000.
Lewis said a final costestimate is not available, but that the money comes from an auxiliary account for special
events that is not Activities and Service-fee-funded. Costs would be incurred from the tent, food and power supply for the evening.
“Everything costssomething,” she said.