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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

UPD to implement security at debate

Meagan Walters

The first 2024 presidential debate is coming to Texas State on Sept. 16. With an event of this high caliber and public presence, security measures have been discussed and are in the works.

University Police Chief Matthew Carmichael said the University Police Department (UPD) has worked with the Secret Service since applications to host the debate opened on Jan. 3, 2023.

“There was an application process for the debate and we were a part of that application process from a security perspective,” Carmichael said. “We interact with the Secret Service from the point of just the application process and then from that point forward we’ll continue to work with the Secret Service up until a couple of days after the debate.”

According to Carmichael, the Secret Service, alongside Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal partners for the debate will work with UPD.

The Secret Service will visit Texas State as the event gets closer, ensuring a safe environment for the debate by scoping the site as well as hotels.

The Secret Service will also be present at the debate as they will provide security at Strahan Arena and the surrounding area. They may also provide protection for the candidates. According to the Secret Service, candidates identified by the Department of Homeland Security are eligible for protection during a general election year.

Carmichael said the debate will impact security more than just on campus. It will affect the entire county whether through hospitality or transportation. With that, Carmichael said UPD has to work with other departments including the city of San Marcos.

“We’re knee-deep right now in security and safety planning which is a lot of work,” Carmichael said. “Just generally speaking, for these types of events requires us to be a good partner with our federal partners, state partners and local partners.”

As Texas State is a public university, Carmichael said UPD has to ensure students rights are protected during the debate as well. Protests and demonstrations will likely occur meaning UPD has to delegate services to provide protection, potentially increasing police presence at different areas around campus.

“We also have to be mindful of free speech activity as well to make sure that we’re protecting those that choose to exercise their right,” Carmichael said.

While UPD is planning to protect students, they will also allow some to be a part of the event.

“We will be involving students especially in our criminal justice program at whatever security level we can,” Carmichael said. “It’s common for students to volunteer work at the debates but I think from a security planning perspective, it’s a grand opportunity for a criminal justice major.”

Carmichael’s advice for students and San Marcos residents is to always report if any suspicious behavior is noticed to provide a safe environment.

“See something, say something,” Carmichael said. “If a student leading up to the event saw something they thought was suspicious, call campus police whether it’s the day of, the week or even the month before.”

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