Congressman dings Wright State for ‘poor planning’

Rep. Mike Turner cited “poor planning” among the reasons Wright State University had to back out of hosting this fall’s first presidential debate.

“I think it falls not just on the community, but on Wright State,” Turner said. “Just sounds like the work wasn’t done that needed to be done.”

The Republican congressman and former Dayton mayor said he’s disappointed because of the loss of exposure for the region.

“It sounds like there was very poor planning,” Turner said. “I was asked very early on to support this and I had assumed Wright State had in place the assets that are necessary in order to have been awarded the debate.”

In announcing Tuesday that the campus had withdrawn from hosting the event, Wright State President David Hopkins cited rising security costs.

He said the university had not been able to convince donors to contribute enough to cover the costs.

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“It’s the presidential debate, so it’s both candidates,” Turner said. “It’d be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It’s Democrat and Republican. It’s something that really everybody should get behind.”

Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick echoed Hopkins’ concerns about security on the large, open campus, and how it played a major role in the decision.

“I have been to a number of meetings where they have talked about the difficulties of it being an open university and them maintaining security,” Kirkpatrick said. “Obviously we were very disappointed … but we understand why the university did it.

“Safety and security has to be the number one issue for any community.”

Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said there were additional security considerations beyond the Nutter Center and the campus, including concerns that protestors could shut down nearby Interstate 675.

“Every time we turned around there was more of a demand being placed on the security needs,” Fischer said.

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