Students, faculty participate in ticket lottery for debate

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of people filed into the O’rena to watch the GOP Presidential candidates take the stage. Among the crowd were 60 Oakland University students, a mere .3 percent of the student population.

The students won their seats to the debate in a lottery. The lottery ensured that each student that entered had an equal opportunity in getting a spot at the debate.

A similar procedure was enacted for faculty members – only 20 would be able to attend, though there are additional faculty members with political ties that will get them inside.

According to Erin Sudrovech, associate director of alumni engagement and campus programs, the reason the university chose to do a lottery was because it allowed for students and faculty who don’t check the university website or their email daily a chance to get in.

“We had 600 people enter the lottery … we knew with the debate ticket, since it was such a hot ticket … it (the lottery) gave everyone an opportunity to sign up,” Sudrovech said.

The event was hosted by the Michigan Republican Party and not the university itself, which is why all students and staff were generally not invited to attend.

“This is an educational experience, so our first priority is to our students … this is not an OU event – we are merely acting as the host site, Ted Montgomery, director of media relations at OU, said. “Attendance at the debate is closely controlled by the Michigan Republican Party. As a courtesy, they allotted us some seats to give to faculty and students.”

Meghan Magdalenic, a senior social work major, wanted to attend the debate, but found out that only a select few would be selected to attend.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s pretty cool that OU’s campus was chosen to do it,” Magdalenic said. “I think it’s unfortunate that more student aren’t able to participate in it. I know the school is doing a lot of different viewing parties, but it would be kind of cool (to be at the debate),”she said.

On the other hand, Rob Lanchis, a junior business and accounting major, didn’t mind the fact he wasn’t getting into the debate. He thought that more students should get into the event, but believed that overall, students will have the same learning experience.

“They will just see it on a television screen,” Lanchis said.

The Debate Watch Party, which was held Wednesday from 6 – 10 p.m. in Banquet Rooms A and B of the Oakland Center also had an overwhelming response. A lottery was put into place, which selected 400 individuals to take part in the interactive event.

“The night of the debate when we host the watch party … they (attendees) will have the chance to participate in a survey … we have these handheld device … it’s such a neat way to participate in such a historic event … especially for OU,” Sudrovech said.

Magdalenic said that by the time she and her friends went to sign up for spots for volunteering and the watch party, it was too late and spots had already been filled.

“I think they should have made it more open, I know they’re doing a lot, but it still would have been nice to have more opportunities and I do think a lot of people – I know some people haven’t even heard about it either, so I think it should have been publicized more,” Magdalenic said.