The week in Villanova History: Dole to give crime speech on campus

By Jonathan Klick, Editor-in-Chief ’96

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole will give an address Monday at 11 AM in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. The topic of Dole’s speech will be crime.

“It’s a major policy announcement,” said Jeff Weiss, the lead advance person for the Dole/Kemp campaign. Vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp will also be in attendance during the address as will a number of Republican governors from across the country.

Villanova was selected from a list of potential sites in the area fro the speech, and school officials held meetings throughout the week to hammer out the logistical details that are encountered in such a large scale event.

One of the major difficulties discussed was the tremendous parking problem that will be created given the already tight parking conditions that exist on campus. A partial remedy for this was the suggestion that members of the press, which may number as many as 100 domestic and foreign correspondents, and other participants in the 22 vehicle motorcade that will transport the governors from Philadelphia International Airport park in a lot at the Valley Forge Military Academy. The governors and members of the Dole campaign will then be bussed to the Fieldhouse.

In a meeting on Tuesday, school officials also discussed the possibility that many students would not be permitted to attend the address because of lack of seating.

Due to the poor acoustics in the field house, it was questioned whether or not the balcony bleachers should be used. Without that seating, Nevin’s capacity numbers less than 1,000. Much of that space would be filled by local guests invited by the Dole campaign.

Apparently, the larger John E. duPont Pavilion could not be used because of the negative implications of giving a speech about crime in a building named after a person who is currently being tried for murder in Delaware County, according to school officials. The stadium was also discounted as a potential site due to concerns over the weather and the added time necessary to prepare the site.

Eventually, Weiss made the decision that Nevin’s balcony seating could be used for students. Fifteen hundred tickets will be made available for those seats beginning today at 9 a.m. in the Student Development Office.

Director of Student Development Randy Farmer expressed satisfaction that a large number of students will be admitted. “Students are very interested in this kind of activity,” he said. When it was suggested that many students will stay away due to classes, Farmer answered, “This kind of a choice will present a pretty attractive dilemma for our students.”

The decision to distribute tickets ahead of time was made to avoid a mob scene in front of the fieldhouse. “I was at one of these a number of years ago that students couldn’t get in, and it turned ugly,” said Jeffrey Horton, director of the Office of Public Safety.

To increase opportunities for students and members of the community to view the speech, a proposal was made to broadcast the address to either the Connelly Center Cinema or the duPont Pavilion.

Dole’s workers will being setting up the staging area on Sunday morning. “This is kind of an elaborate stage production,” said Weiss, adding that two jumbo-trons will be installed in the field house and three large trucks will be brought in the provide air conditioning for the gymnasium. A special stage will also be brought in for the event.

Weiss said that Dole’s speech will last approximately on hour. After the completion of his address, the candidate will leave the campus, but the governors will remain to field questions from the press. This session with the governors will be open to the press only.