Inauguration Trip 2009

A group of SMU communications and journalism students led by Rita Kirk, professor in the Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, is headed to Washington, D.C., in January 2009 for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

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History from a hotel room

An update from Brad, a junior with a double major in economics and CCPA, and a history minor:

So unfortunately, I missed the Inauguration. Despite my three-month search to finally get a ticket and getting up at the crack of dawn in the cold weather, I did not get to witness the history in person that everyone seemed to be so hyped about.

The reason? My answer: poor planning on the city’s part.

The line to get into my section was nearly three miles long with only one gate entrance. Moreover, the line stretched down a closed highway into a tunnel. A tunnel – talk about a safety issue.

I soon realized that I would not even be able to see the Inauguration on television if I didn’t leave. So I made the executive decision to leave.

On my way back I talked to people in line who did not even have tickets; they just wanted to see how close they could get. Here I am with tickets that my dad searched so hard to get for me, and these people are standing in line just to see how close they can get.

Then I started to hear stories about people who had tickets but were turned down at the entrance gates because it was overpacked. I had no idea that the Inauguration was supposed to be a profit-making scheme in which they oversold for the event. Sounds like the airline industry.

But to get to the point, the city did a seemingly disappointing job in planning for this event. I know that it’s a hard event to plan for and that nobody can plan for whatever could arise, but people came from all over the nation, some even from other countries, to see this, and they were stuck in a tunnel with hopes that they might get in. It just seems to me that more could have been done.

I respect the fact that the Inaugural Committee had a lot to deal with, but with a $160 million budget, I think that a little more could have been spent on crowd control.

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