Presidential Debate Brings Security Challenges to NY University

Hofstra University will bring in hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers for the event.

Officials at Hofstra University in New York are scrambling to ensure all the necessary security measures are being put in place after taking over the hosting role for the first presidential debate recently.

Just one week after agreeing to host the Sept. 26 debate university officials say they’re expecting security preparations to cost upwards of $5 million, reports CBS New York.

The debate was initially going to be hosted by Ohio’s Wright State University, but WSU President David Hopkins decided to withdraw his institution July 19 amid security and budget concerns. Hopkins said cost estimates for the event were initially set at $5 million, but that figure grew to well over $8 million as the date got closer and could’ve reached $11 million in total.

Hofstra, which hosted a presidential debate in 2012, had been a “stand by” location for the event if an alternative location was needed.

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Now the school must turn its Sports and Exhibition Complex into a venue with an enormous stage and seating area that guarantees security standards that match the prominence of the event. The Hofstra Public Safety Department, which is partnered with the Nassau County and Village of Hempstead Police Departments, will bring in hundreds of additional law enforcement officers and federal agents to assist with security needs.

The complex task of upgrading Hofstra’s security standards will include several major renovations on the 240-acre campus. Approximately $700,000 worth of additional security upgrades will be made in the areas surrounding campus. Local municipalities will not get reimbursed for the security expenses, although restaurant and hotel bookings are expected to help with those costs.

Hofstra spent roughly $5 million on a presidential debate in 2012 but expects this year’s debate to far exceed that. University donors and trustees are assisting with funding.

Sixteen colleges nationwide applied to host a presidential debate in 2016.

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