Speaking on the same steps as President Gerald Ford and then-presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, President Barack Obama will speak at a political rally in front of Doheny Memorial Library on Friday.
The event, organized by the Democratic National Committee, will be hosted by the USC Political Student Assembly, an organization composed of 25 political student groups on campus.
“This is one of the few times that we have a sitting president come to our school,” said Jason Duong, director of the USC Political Student Assembly. “Regardless of your political views … it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that you can tell your grandkids.”
Assembly members will begin setting up baracades on Thursday, Duong said. They will also help with crowd control and distribution of water bottles during the rally.
Attendees of the rally may being begin entering the event at 10 a.m., and the program is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Visitors, who are encouraged to take public transit to the campus, should enter on Trousdale Parkway, south of W. 34th Street, where each person entering the rally will be required to walk through a metal detector.
People are not allowed to wait in line for the event overnight.
For security reasons, laptop computers, sharp objects, drink bottles, folding chairs, backpacks, bags and purses larger than a size of standard paper are prohibited.
USC Transportation officials said they are expecting traffic congestion on the streets around campus. Trams will not be allowed to drive on campus. Tram pick-up and drop-offs will take place at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Hoover Street; however, these plans might change based on input from the Secret Service, the Department of Public Safety or the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
To accommodate visitors driving to campus, parking spots in Parking Structures A and X will be reserved. Permit holders who normally park in those structures are advised to park in alternate parking structures, such as Parking Structures B or D.
Campus will be open during regular hours and classes will remain as scheduled, however, several buildings, including the Student Union and Doheny Memorial Library, will be completely closed. In addition, the Von KleinSmid Center, Bovard Administration Building and the Ronald Tutor Campus Center will have partial closures.
The majority of classes will not be affected by the rally. Administrators are working with professors to create alternate class locations for those classes that might be affected because of their proximity to the rally.
Bicycle racks will be temporarily removed from the east and west sides of Trousdale Parkway between 34th Street and Tommy Trojan to accommodate for the expected number of people attending the rally. Bicycles locked on these racks after 5 p.m. on Thursday could be impounded by DPS. Students are also asked to avoid parking bikes on Downey Way, between Trousdale Parkway and Stonier Hall; 34th Street, south of Parking Lot B; and Childs Way, north of the campus center.
More than 7,500 people have already responded to the USC College Democrats Facebook event for Friday’s rally, said Micah Scheindlin, political director for USC College Democrats. About 30,000 are expected, according to the press release.
“We’ve been promoting the event since it became official,” Scheindlin said. The student organization has also been tabling on Trousdale this week and encouraging students to sign pledge-to-vote cards, in an effort to make Obama’s visit resonate with all students.
“We’re hoping that the president’s message goes further than the people who are already enthusiastic,” Scheindlin said. “The president will impress upon everyone else in the crowd and in the country.”