For the first time in its history, Fairfield will be hosting voter registration and voting booths on Election Day on campus. Additional security measures will be taken on Nov. 8 because of these voting booths.
According to The Atlantic, people protested against Donald Trump supporters at DePaul University in Chicago, Washington State University in Washington and Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
“The decision to add security to the voting area is based on national media coverage of some violence that has taken place with political rallies,” said Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety John Ritchie.
Sophomore Elisa Castelli believed that these additional precautions are necessary.
“I think that tensions are extremely high, especially with this election because the two candidates are not everybody’s favorite people,” said Castelli.
“As part of the overall planning process, it was determined that security would be provided throughout the election process,” commented Director of Public Safety Todd Pelazza.
Ritchie believed that it is disappointing that there was violence at political rallies.
“I have to say that it’s too bad we find the need to have staff on site for Election Day,” said Ritchie. “People should have the right to voice their political opinion without the fear of being accosted.”
The security will be in the form of two additional Fairfield DPS officers, who will be on duty, according to Associate Director of the Office of Student Engagement Jeremy Kaler. The officers will also help direct voters to the right place, reported Ritchie.
On-campus voter registration and polling booths will be in the Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center on Nov. 8. Pelazza stated that the additional officers will be stationed around both the inside and outside of the BCC.
“I made that decision [to have extra officers] namely because we are expecting over 800 community members and an unknown number of students to take advantage of the Election Day Registration event,” said Kaler. “Having a security presence is just best practice for event planning with the potential for such a large crowd. The decision wasn’t made due to the political campaigns or anything like that.”
However, Lauren Calderoni ‘18 did not believe that additional security will be necessary.
“I doubt anything would happen [at this campus],” Calderoni commented. “I feel like it’s a pretty safe campus and people would not be inclined to get rowdy while voting.”
According to the Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ’03, the additional security will also assist people with parking and answering any questions that voters may have if they are in need of assistance.
According to Kaler, one of the additional DPS officers will be helping with parking since the left side of the BCC lot will be shut down on Election Day so that community members will be able to come on-campus.
The second additional officer will be floating between parking and the voting area, added Kaler.
“Todd Pelazza and Jeremy Kaler have been working with the Republican and Democrat registrar of voters on all details including volunteers, parking and [information technology],” Donoghue added.
“We are not anticipating any disruptions,” said Pelazza. “DPS has planned for and is ready to address any situation that may arise during the election at Fairfield.”
Leave a Reply