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Tickets for Presidential Speech Cause Campus Chaos

By Acadia Otlowski and Jacqueline Stoughton

CCSU scrambled to prepare for a presidential visit this week, distributing tickets for the Wednesday event to faculty, staff and students just two days prior. The distribution went well according to administration, but the process was not without its hiccups.

President Barack Obama, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will be holding a “Raise the Wage” speech on Wednesday.

The event will take place in Kaiser Hall at 2:40 p.m. The gates open at 11:30 a.m. and those attending are asked to arrive as early as possible.

A limited amount of tickets were distributed Monday for students and faculty online. These sold out within minutes. Additional ticket were offered at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Ticket sales on Monday were not without fault, but the university spokesman said it went fairly well considering the volume of requests the system had to handle.

“It stressed the system to the max,” said Mark McLaughlin, university spokesman, “The faculty and staff hit 85 percent a few minutes after the opening bell.”

Faculty were able to get into the ticket distribution website at 10:45 a.m. Students were allowed in the system around noon. But students and faculty received emails at different times, causing both groups to complain about the system used.

“[We] got a number of complaints that students were not able to sign up,” said McLaughlin. “There are some uncontrollable things about email.”

While the marketing office at the university was unable to release the exact number of tickets for students and faculty, McLaughlin said that the demand for the tickets was exceptionally high.

“When the system is stressed it slows down,” said McLaughlin.

“It wasn’t easy. The email came in late, I kept getting server errors. Then it said it was sold out but I kept trying.
It’s not often the president comes to Connecticut,” said Ryan Revard who was able to get tickets

Students are excited for the president’s arrival but are skeptical about the subject of the speech.

“I think that it’s surprising also that he is coming when we are having all this tension with Russia,” said Djenne Mobley, a student who was unable to get tickets on Monday. “Other then that, it’s a great opportunity for the school to have some much needed publicity.”

Many of the students were interviewed in line waiting for their tickets, but believe that the increased minimum may cause more problems than it would solve.

“Raising the minimum wage isn’t needed anytime soon, they just raised it,”  said Revard.

Connecticut recently raised its minimum wage to $8.70 per hour this January. The nest raise for the state will occur January 1, 2015. This raise will bring the Connecticut state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.

“I can see both sides of the minimum wage debate, but it’ll probably just end up causing inflation,” said Melanie Gawlak, a student that received tickets for the talk.

Some students were disappointed about not receiving tickets for the talk.

“I didn’t really try because it said tickets were sold out within five minutes,” said Jessica Hubina, who didn’t manage to get tickets for the event.

McLaughlin was not positive why the university was selected for the honor of hosting the governors of four states and the president today, but he was willing to speculate on it.

“One of the things I’ve heard is that Connecticut is an exemplary state for raising the minimum wage,” said McLaughlin.

“The university has a proud tradition of bringing presidents [to speak],” said McLaughlin. These distinguished guests include Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush Jr. and Sr. President Obama will now join these ranks.

Student Alec Donna summed up the feelings of many of the faculty and her peers.

“Whether you like the president or not he is the president of the United States and it definitely would be an experience of a lifetime to be able to see him in person,” said Donna.