Alabama Won't Punish Students Who Protest Trump At LSU Game
The Univ. of Alabama will "not punish students who boo" President Trump at Saturday's game against LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium, according to Nancy Armour of USA TODAY. The university's Student Government Association said that an earlier message that "threatened to revoke seating at future games for 'organizations that engage in disruptive behavior' had been taken out of context." The statement said the SGA "strongly affirms its belief in free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions" (USA TODAY, 11/7). SGA VP/Student Affairs Jason Rothfarb said, "Some have misinterpreted my comment regarding 'disruptive behavior.' As with other games this season, Organization's Block Seating locations will be clearly marked, but at certain times, other students can and should have access to open seats." He added, "By disruptive behavior, we are asking students to be respectful to all students and staff and avoid altercations. My email has nothing do with anyone's First Amendment rights and I am sorry for any confusion." SGA Press Secretary Jackson Fuentes said that this is the "first time this season a letter about disruptions was sent to block seating organizations" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/7).
TAKING PRECAUTION: In Birmingham, Paul Gattis notes gates at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday will open at 11:30am CT for the 2:30pm game. There will be the "usual security -- such as metal detectors" -- and then there will be presidential security. There "may be an inconvenience or two" and fans will "just have to deal with it" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/7). Also in Birmingham, Joseph Goodman writes lines into the stadium "should already be forming" for those who want to watch this game. Goodman: "Get in line now." Everyone has to "get checked out by the Secret Service" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/7). Trump's presence also is causing confusion among fans as to what they can bring into the game. Alabama AD Greg Byrne this morning responded to a fan who wrote him saying she had heard that clutch purses would not be allowed and that belts would have to be removed. He wrote, "We are finalizing details and will have information out to everyone by the end of the day on what will and won’t be allowed Saturday" (TWITTER.com, 11/7).
TRUMP DIDN'T CAUSE "GAMEDAY" MOVE: In Birmingham, Michael Casagrande notes ESPN's "College GameDay" will set up on the school's quad for the first time ahead of Saturday's game. The show for previous visits to Tuscaloosa "had been centered on the Walk of Champions since the stadium expansion added that plaza outside the north end zone." However, ESPN Coordinating Producer Drew Gallagher indicated that the decision to move the set "came Sunday after a network site visit." There had been speculation that Trump's visit "had moved the set." However, Gallagher said that "wasn’t the case," as he "didn’t even know Trump was going to be in town until news had been out for at least a day" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/7).