Cleveland Students Fear for Safety during Republican National Convention
- By Sydny Shepard
- Jul 14, 2016
The Republican National Convention will take over Cleveland next week as republican politicians, social influencers and celebrities flood the city. Due to the amount of violence surrounding Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s rallies in cities across the country, Cleveland police have created a security plan to keep the area around the Quicken Loans Arena, and the people inside, safe.
Cleveland police have gathered as many officers as they could from the city and the surrounding areas, including the Ohio National Guard, to protect during the event. The problem: Where are you going to put all these officers?
Enter Case Western Reserve University. With Case Western’s placement just over 4 miles from the convention site, the campus is the perfect place to house officers during their off-duty hours during the convention. When the university was approached to house 1,700 police officers and 200 Ohio National Guard members, they did not hesitate to say yes.
Students of the university are not okay with this decision. President Barbara Snyder held two forums on campus July 6 after students and faculty voiced their concerns over housing the police.
Students wanted the university to require the officers to store their weapons off campus, for the officers to stay out of university-owned buildings that aren’t their assigned residence halls and for the university to provide alternative housing for students uncomfortable with the increased police presence.
After the forums, Snyder sent out an email to students of the university on July 11 regarding the topics brought up. The email admitted that "in answering the city's convention request, we failed to give adequate consideration to the impact the decision would have on members of our community—in particular students staying in residence halls near the buildings housing the officers."
Later, an update was made to the university’s website about campus operations during the RNC. The notice says that most classes will be held off campus, education campus for middle and high school students will be cancelled and rescheduled, students on-campus will receive help finding a place to stay during convention and the athletic center and library will be closed.
"In simplest terms, this decision means that every school and unit has been asked to minimize the number of people on campus, as well as the number of its campus buildings that are open," the notice said.
Cleveland State University’s campus will be open, but classes will not be held on campus. Cuyahoga Community College will close several of its buildings near the convention site and classes at the Metropolitan Campus will be held off-site.
Sydny Shepard is the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Security & Life Safety, a special section to Security Today.