By JESSICA KEESEE
For University of Tampa students and staff, the start of the Fall 2012 semester was different than previous years. This year, the first week of classes coincided with the start of the Republican National Convention from Aug. 27-31, affecting students in one way or another.
As students arrived to UT and prepared for classes, 2,286 delegates, approximately 15,000 credentialed members of the media, and a slew of tourists and protesters arrived in Tampa and prepped themselves for the RNC. For some students, classes were cancelled to avoid the conventions, with some held online instead.
With so many new faces in Tampa during the first week of classes, students found it difficult to navigate the city with increased traffic.
“The traffic has been horrendous,” said Sean, a senior and commuter. “Bridges have been closed and none of my classes were cancelled, so I was late for some of them.”
Senior Jennifer Fink also had problems getting to school. “It took me an hour to drive [to campus] for work on North Boulevard from Bayshore.”
For others, heightened security and the required green lanyards were a hassle. The lanyards, given to students to wear for the week of the RNC, were a way to keep their students IDs handy and let security know exactly who was a UT student while on campus. Security was placed around all entrances into the school to check for students IDs as well.
“UT security has done a pretty decent job monitoring who comes in and out of campus but I think these lanyards are really atrocious,” asserted senior Chanelle Cox, 21. “It sounds like really petty in the larger scheme of things but… it’s a nuisance to have the lanyards.”
While some students appreciated the increased campus security with the RNC in town, others could have done without.
“Having all of the security on campus doesn’t make me feel safer. In fact, I have more anxiety,” admitted Chris, a junior. “The police aren’t even friendly… only to girls.”
The RNC’s collision with the first week of classes even affected Greek life, with some sororities having to push back a week.
Despite traffic, heightened security, “atrocious” green lanyards, and a halt on Greek life, the RNC proved beneficial for several UT students.
“It’ s actually really cool,” said senior Brooke Maute, an intern with MSNBC for the RNC. “I’m very into politics so it’s just cool to see how everything goes down with the actual convention.”
Cox on the other hand was not as welcoming toward the RNC. “It irritates me. I find it irksome that our tax dollars are going to pay for these ridiculous conventions.”
Now that the RNC has ended, UT students have returned to their normal schedules.