With Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump scheduled to visit the Sun Dome on Friday, there are mixed emotions and opinions among students on the business mogul’s campaign and allowing him to host the rally on USF’s campus.
The political hopeful will speak to students and supporters in a rally to garner support for Trump to be nominated as the Republican candidate for November’s presidential election.
The announcement of the visit only last week has caused some students to question the candidate’s intentions.
“I think he may just be jumping around places trying to get his name out there rather than focusing on certain areas,” senior Leah Fowler said.
“I feel like he could have a better plan than what he shows. I feel like he is still doing well, but I just think it’s from the popularity of his television shows.”
Although some of Trump’s views and beliefs are not the most popular, students still believe it is important for all political candidates to have a platform to speak.
“It’s a public university, so we have to hear all sides,” junior Wes Eldridge said. “You may not agree with what he has to say or what he believes in, but he has the right to say what he wants to say. Given a forum, he should be able to use it.”
Some students, like senior mass communications major Andy Harrington, are just fascinated with the idea of a major political figure not only visiting the university, but also choosing to hold his rally on campus.
“I think it’s interesting that he’s coming. He’s a very different type of politician,” said Harrington. “I think it’s refreshing in some ways, but in some ways, it’s scary to think that of a ‘celebrity’ (as president), and if it’s just a publicity stunt and he’s just doing it for a popularity contest.”
After winning the New Hampshire primary last week, Trump’s visit to USF marks his first scheduled trip to the Sunshine State in 2016, according to his campaign website.
Friday’s rally also brings heightened security measures and changes to the normal flow of campus activity accommodate the influx of people the day of the event.
According to an emailed statement to the Oracle from the Sun Dome, “individuals who are not attending the event may otherwise congregate in areas surrounding the USF Sun Dome that are open to the general public so long as they do not interfere with the safety of the event, impede the flow of automobile or pedestrian traffic, or otherwise disrupt the licensed use of the facility.”
Several parking lots and the Campus Recreation center will close early Friday to leave as much room as possible for the thousands of spectators, supporters and demonstrators expected to attend.
In a e-mail addressed to students Wednesday, Dean of Students Danielle McDonald respectfully encouraged and reminded those planning to attend the rally that “it is important to remember that not all of those who attend this public event will share your views or maintain the same level of respectful speech that we know you will.”
The rally is also open to the public. Those hoping to attend the event have to register for tickets on eventbrite.com.
In addition, routes on the Bull Runner campus busing system will be changed for the event. Additional information on parking and campus transportation can be found at usf.edu/parking.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and the rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.