Questions and Answers

General

General questions about the RNC and UT.
Q: Why did the University decide to continue with its regular academic schedule, as opposed to delaying opening for one week?
A: There are three primary reasons.
  • First, we believe the RNC presents an unprecedented opportunity for UT students to study our political process.
  • Second, opening a residential university is a complex, multi-layered process that involves the coordination of numerous curricular and co-curricular departments. It generally takes three to four weeks – and all staff and several hundred students – to prepare for the start of classes in the fall.
  • Third, we have to be mindful of our obligation to provide a specified number of class days and meeting hours. A missed week of classes would be very difficult to make up. In summary, being in session during RNC better ensures UT students will receive the high level of academic and co-curricular experiences that they expect and deserve.
Q: I’d like to volunteer for the RNC. Who do I contact? 
A: You should check the Host Committee website at http://2012tampa.com/.
Q: Can members of the media come on to campus to film b-roll or interview students or faculty? 
A: Members of the media are welcome to come to campus, however they are strongly encouraged to contact the UT Office of Public Information prior to entering campus. Media are asked to enter campus at the University Avenue entrance, and park in the parking lot behind the Plant Hall fountain (maps available upon request). When on campus, media must display proper ID, and be willing to follow all campus rules and not interfere with the University’s normal operations. Media are only allowed in public areas – they are not allowed into residence halls, classrooms or offices without prior consent from the Office of Public Information. All interviewees must be asked permission to be filmed prior to the filming taking place. 

Academics

Information on the RNC and the academic schedule.
Q: I’m a student. If I physically can’t make it to class that week, due to traffic or otherwise, will I be excused?
A: Class attendance policies will be determined by individual faculty, as is the normal academic policy. The University will do everything possible to alleviate traffic and parking issues that might deter students from getting to campus. Please be in contact with your professor concerning schedule changes.
Q: Will classes be able to access the RNC in order to observe the political process?
A: We fully expect individual faculty and classes will use the RNC as a working laboratory. UT has a long history with visible, prominent national events, and we have always used those “real world” events to augment teaching and learning.

Orientation and Fall Move-In

Information on campus arrival for Fall 2012.
Q: Won’t hotel reservations be nearly impossible for parents helping their freshman students move in to their residence halls?
A: UT has made a number of changes to our move-in and orientation schedule for new students for Fall 2012 to minimize the impact of the RNC on campus operations. While UT is continuing with its regular Fall 2012 academic schedule, new student move-in has been rescheduled to Aug. 19-20, and orientation will be held Aug. 20-23. Tampa-area hotels are booked the week of RNC, but we believe there will be more availability the week prior. The official hotel for orientation is Hyatt Regency Tampa. We are encouraging parents and incoming students to make their travel plans as expediently as possible.
Q: What about hotel reservations for parents of current students who will help their students move in to their residence halls?
A: We would recommend that you help your student move-in during the day, and then seek accommodations in the surrounding areas, such as Brandon, the USF area, Wesley Chapel, Plant City and Sarasota/Bradenton. However, parents should make their travel plans as expediently as possible.
Q: All flights are booked into Tampa International Airport. What should I do?
A: You should consider flying into St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport-PIE (16 miles from campus), Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport-SRQ (39 miles) or Orlando International Airport-MCO (85 miles).

Protests

Information on conducting peaceful protests.
Q: I’m a UT student. My organization would like to organize a peaceful protest. How can we do that safely?
A: UT encourages its students to demonstrate peacefully on campus. However, if you or your student organization is planning a protest, let the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement know in advance. That will ensure you can get your message out most effectively.
Q: Can the public use Plant Park as a place to gather, protest or camp out?
A: Plant Park is part of The University of Tampa campus, and it is maintained, scheduled and patrolled by The University of Tampa. Like the UT campus, it is within the city of Tampa's RNC “Event Zone." During RNC, the UT community has reserved much of the park for University-related programming, but public access is allowed for passive recreational purposes. The park has a capacity limit of 300 individuals, and is closed at dusk. UT Campus Safety or other law enforcement officers may remove any groups or individuals who pose a threat to the safety and well being of the UT community. Types of behavior expressly prohibited in Plant Park include, but are not limited to: lying down on the ground or on benches or walkways in a manner that interferes with the use of walkways, benches or sitting areas by others; the placement of tarps, sleeping bags or any other similar coverings on the park; storage or placement of private property on the ground, walkways or benches of the park that is unattended or otherwise obstructs access or use of the park; alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs or substances; removal of objects from trash receptacles; littering; sleeping, camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures; damage to any landscaping or hardscape in the park; indecent behavior including public urination or defecation; use of megaphones or amplified music or noise; and, possession or use of fireworks or the creation of fires.

Safety

Information on safety concerns and the RNC.
 
Q: Will it be safe for students to be at UT during RNC?
A: Safety will be a top priority. We’re enhancing our campus safety staffing, contracting for additional assistance and preparing for the security of our campus entrances and borders. We will be checking IDs of individuals on campus to ensure they belong. We are working closely with local and law enforcement representatives, and have talked with staff at colleges and universities who were familiar with 2008 RNC Convention in St. Paul, MN, getting their best advice, and have analyzed reports of the St. Paul engagement. These activities are helping us understand the potential impact so that we can plan accordingly for educational, safety, communications and other issues. Finally, we’ll be doing a lot of safety education for the campus community this spring and summer.
Q: Can I invite a friend to visit me in my residence hall during RNC?
A: Normal visitation policies will be in place during RNC. You will be responsible for your visitor at all times, and if they violate UT policies, you violate UT policies. Also, if you get separated from your visitor on campus, he/she may be asked to leave since he/she will not have a Spartan Card as identification.
Q: Is the UT campus within the security perimeter?
A: The U.S. Secret Service sets the security perimeter, and that hasn't been announced.
Q: My 2011-2012 parking tag expires on Aug. 15, and I probably won't be on campus until the first day of school to get a new tag for 2012-2013, which is also the first day of the RNC. Will a student ID be enough to get on campus until I receive a new parking tag?

A: The most important item for campus access is the Spartan ID card. We know that during the RNC some students will be in the process of obtaining their new parking permit, but all can/should have a Spartan ID card. As long as you can present that card, you will be in good shape.

Q: Will all entrances to UT be open?

A: Yes, but they will be staffed by UT Campus Safety. All individuals must have a SpartanCard to be ensured access to the campus.

Q: Will the parking decks be available for UT staff and students? What about the general public?

A: The parking garages will be available for UT staff and student parking as normal. Both parking lots, West and Thomas, will be monitored by UT Campus Safety during the RNC. Even if you have a UT parking pass you will still need to show your valid SpartanCard. If your parking pass has expired you can still access the garage with a valid SpartanCard, during the RNC only.