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Presidential return: Obama to visit Ohio State’s Oval Tuesday

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

As originally reported by The Lantern, President Barack Obama is scheduled to return to Ohio State Tuesday, hosting a Grassroots Event on the Oval with special guest Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.

Doors are scheduled to open 2 p.m. at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 17th Avenue and the event is free and open to the public, although attendees will need to RSVP for entry, available on Obama’s website.

In an Aug. 28 conference call with The Lantern and college journalists nationwide, Obama hinted he would return to the university before the election.

“I expect that if you’re not completely tired of me, you’re gonna see me in Ohio State again,” Obama said. “In fact, I think I’ve got a buckeye in my pocket that somebody gave me the last time I was there. I figure that’s good luck going into the election.”

Obama was originally scheduled to make an appearance in Columbus Thursday, but that visit was rescheduled for Tuesday.

The Lantern obtained an email that Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life, sent to several university officials and students Thursday before 9 a.m.

“I just received official notification from the College Democrats about their request to host a campaign visit from President Obama next week,” Adams-Gaston said in the email. 

Niraj Antani, communication director of College Republicans, said if Obama does come to OSU no academics should be disrupted and no student or state dollars should be spent.

“We cannot shut down things that students pay for, that I would also argue, the state pays for,” Antani said.

When Obama visited campus two years ago, the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library was roped off for a some time. When he came in March, the RPAC was shut down. Antani said this should not be the case.

“If students are denied access for the Thompson Library, then I will demand that students be reimbursed,” he said. That promise also includes reimbursement for canceled classes and other facilities.

Antani met with Adams-Gaston Thursday evening to express his concerns. He also argued that the university’s “Rules Governing the Use of Outdoor Space,” which state that the Oval is to be used for limited activities and “Concerts, athletics and other large events are scheduled only on the South Oval.” The rules however, “are subject to change.”

On the other hand, Melody Funkhouser, a second-year in architecture, said she is excited about the potential visit from Obama.

“I’m not much for politics, but I think it’s good for students to be engaged,” she said.

The first presidential debate was held Wednesday evening at the University of Denver in Colorado, a swing state.

Many analysts declared Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as the winner following the debate, yet according to a Thursday seven-day rolling Gallup poll, Obama was leading in the polls with 49 percent, while Romney trailed at 45 percent.

Danielle Seamon contributed to this story.

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