FAIRBORN — Wright State University officials are unsure how many tickets they will receive for the presidential debate in September, but the entire allotment will go to students.
And interested students must enter a lottery after being fully vetted to make sure they are eligible for admission. That was the message from Vice-President for Student Affairs Kathy Morris to the assembled media during a debate/election kickoff event Tuesday at the Student Union.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced last fall that WSU would host the first of four general election debates. The Nutter Center can hold upwards of 10,000 for events, but it will be configured into a smaller setting for the 9 p.m. Sept. 26 debate.
Each party will get some tickets and space will be needed for nearly 3,000 media members, leaving yet-to-be-determined number of spots Wright State. Morris said WSU officials were all on board in giving students every ticket.
“It’s really important,” Morris said of getting students involved.
Morris said the ticket quantity could be as low as 100 or 200.
“It’s probably going to be a much smaller number than most people hope,” she said.
To be considered, students must be U.S. citizens, which is a policy set by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Students must be registered for the Fall of 2016, be at least 18-years-old, in a degree-granting program and be cleared by the university’s community standards office to make sure they have a clean record as far as the school is concerned.
Also on Tuesday, Donna Schlagheck, retired chair of the department of political science, said WSU will spend $8 million in up-front costs including building a fence around the Nutter Center and improving the arena’s wireless capability. Some of the money will be recouped from the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service and the debate is expected to generate $100 million in earned media coverage, which is coverage the university did not pay for and is owned and paid for by a third party.
In addition, Schlagheck said the debate will create an uptick in student applications as well as pump as much as $12 million into the local economy.
“The benefits and things that you can’t really measure … are going to outweigh that (initial) investment many times,” she said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.