WASHINGTON – President Obama’s visit next Thursday to the University at Buffalo and other points across upstate is expected to prompt widespread public interest all along the way – along with the disruptions attendant to a modern-day presidential visit.
As the White House confirmed Friday that UB would be the first stop on the president’s two-day bus tour, the university was left to cope with the fact that his visit coincides with move-in day for UB’s freshmen and other first time-students.
“We are not changing this date because many of these students are accompanied by their parents who have already made travel arrangements and may have taken time off from work,” said John DellaContrada, the university’s chief spokesman.
Friday is move-in day for the university’s returning students, but DellaContrada said the school may allow those students to return on Wednesday if they want to attend Obama’s speech and if they can snag tickets.
The White House has not yet announced the precise time of the president’s speech at UB. It also remains unclear whether – or how – tickets to the president’s speech might be made available to the general public.
Sources have told The Buffalo News that Obama will speak at UB’s Alumni Arena, but neither the White House nor the university has confirmed that detail.
Already, though, the upcoming presidential visit has had an impact beyond UB’s Amherst campus.
Obama’s visit prompted the U.S. District Court in Buffalo to postpone indefinitely a long-planned dedication ceremony for the city’s new federal courthouse on Niagara Square, which had been set for 11 a.m. on Thursday. William M. Skretny, chief judge in the Western District of New York, announced the postponement.
Meanwhile, the White House on Friday fleshed out the details of the president’s tour, as an official who asked not to be identified by name said the trip would give Obama the chance to “continue talking to the American people about his better bargain for the middle class.”
That official also said that on Thursday, Obama will also speak in Syracuse, where the SUNY system has medical and forestry schools, as well as at Henninger High School in Syracuse.
On Friday, Obama will host a town hall event at Binghamton University, and will deliver remarks at Lackawanna College in Scranton.
“At each stop, the president will discuss the importance of ensuring that every American has the opportunity to achieve a quality education by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families,” the White House source said.
But since UB will be the president’s first stop, it’s likely to be his most attention-grabbing – and the attention is sure to be welcome on the university’s campus.
“It’s an incredible honor for UB to host President Obama,” said Satish K. Tripathi, UB’s president. “His visit to UB next Thursday will be a proud and historic occasion for our university and our entire region.”
Calling UB a nationwide leader in stressing student “success and access,” Trapathi said at a news conference in Buffalo that it was appropriate for Obama to visit the university as he begins a new push for making a high-quality college education affordable.
“We are especially thrilled to be chosen to host this important conversation about issues that are so close to our heart,” Tripathi said.
News Staff Reporter Jay Rey contributed to this report. email: email@example.com