On Monday, Jan. 11, Drake University will host the Democratic Brown and Black Presidential Candidate Forum. The Forum will be broadcast on Fusion, Iowa Public Television, and C-SPAN and is sponsored by Urban Dreams, a Des Moines-based human services agency. This is one of the longest-running presidential forums in the country, and the only forum specifically dedicated to the concerns of minority voters.
Drake’s mission statement promises students an exceptional learning environment, and hosting the Forum exemplifies this commitment. Specifically, there are four important ways in which hosting this event reflects the University’s mission. First, the Forum exemplifies our role in a civic democracy—the university is the place where the community (in this case, the nation) comes together to discuss the important issues of the day. Second, Fusion will be hiring student interns who will work on all aspects of the production prior to the event. Third, a limited number of tickets are available for Drake students, faculty, and staff to attend the Forum itself, participating directly in the democratic process (information about how to request a seat is included below). Finally, the Forum brings national attention to our University, increasing visibility and attracting the next generation of outstanding students to campus.
Hosting the Brown and Black Forum requires a substantial amount of logistical planning, and the campus community will need to be aware of a number of issues.
Urban Dreams has exclusive control over distribution of tickets to attend the Brown and Black Forum. A limited number of tickets have been made available to members of the Drake community, and priority will be given to current Drake students.
All Forum attendees must be seated by 6 p.m. and will need to remain in Sheslow Auditorium for the entirety of the program, until 9 p.m. If you are unable to commit to attending the entire Forum, please do not request a ticket.
Tickets will be distributed by lottery. To request a ticket, go to http://tinyurl.com/BrownBlackForum2016. You may request a ticket at any time prior to Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, at 5 p.m. Please submit your name and information only once, as duplicate entries are not permitted. In order to guarantee equal opportunity for all members of the Drake community, only one submission per person will be eligible. Each request is for only one ticket, and Drake is not providing tickets for family, friends, or alumni. Those who received a ticket to the DNC Debate via the online ticket lottery will not be eligible to receive a ticket to the Brown and Black Forum through the online ticket lottery.
Please be aware that attendance will require Secret Service screening procedures.
Should you be chosen to receive a ticket to the event, you will be notified by Monday, Jan. 4, using the preferred email address you provide in your request. Once you confirm your acceptance of the ticket, additional instructions and information will be provided. Please remember that tickets are nontransferable—they are only valid for the individual who has been designated to use the ticket and IDs will be checked at the door.
Students who are selected to attend or work for the Brown and Black Forum will have access to campus housing. The Office of Residence Life will work with those students selected to receive tickets and/or those students selected by Fusion as event staff to arrange for housing options based on J-Term daily rates and space availability. Following selection, more information will be provided to those ticketed recipients through the Office of Residence Life.
Facilities and Security
This event will bring a large number of people to campus (approximately 1,000–1,500 people are expected). This creates security concerns and all members of the campus community should be aware of this. Please observe the following guidelines to ensure safety:
- Old Main and Olmsted Center will be restricted to those affiliated with the Forum for security reasons. Credentials will be necessary to enter these spaces on Sunday evening and all day Monday (Jan. 10 and 11). If you need to use facilities in these buildings, please plan to do so before or after they are secured for the event.
- Areas immediately surrounding Old Main and Olmsted Center will be restricted for security reasons. Prior to the Forum, information will be available regarding street closures, parking restrictions, and other logistics. Please plan accordingly.
- Please carry your Drake Card (ID) with you at all times. Should an emergency arise, this will allow security and Secret Service personnel to identify you as a member of the Drake community.
- For students living on campus or in the immediate area, please be extra cautious about allowing access to living spaces to individuals who are not known to you. Do not prop or leave doors open, do not let people into your building unless you know them personally, and do not accept “credentials” from any individual not affiliated with the University, the Des Moines Police Department, or the Secret Service.
Things to Keep in Mind
Hosting a nationally-televised live candidate forum provides invaluable opportunities for the Drake community. It also means that our campus and our community are in the national spotlight. Many credentialed members of the press are expected. Three presidential candidates will be on campus. You may have interactions with Fusion staff, Urban Dreams staff, candidates, campaign staff, Secret Service personnel and/or the media. Please take care to be respectful and responsible. You may well have the opportunity to show the nation who we are as the Drake community and our collective commitment to civility and the open, respectful exchange of divergent views. Together, we can ensure that this is a positive experience for all of the individuals visiting campus, as well as for all members of the Drake family.
Additional details regarding building access, street closures, and parking restrictions, will be distributed the week prior to the event.
—Joe Lenz, Interim Provost