Interested Debate Observer: Washington University

Brian Kelly @brpkelly
The bears statue outside Francis Fieldhouse, which will host the third presidential debate on Oct. 9, 2016. (KMOX/Brian Kelly)

The bears statue outside Francis Fieldhouse, which will host the third presidential debate on Oct. 9, 2016.
(KMOX/Brian Kelly)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-Among those who will be closely watching Monday night’s first presidential debate, is the man in charge of staging the third debate at Washington University next month.

Steve Givens won’t necessarily be wanting to know where the candidates stand on the issues, but will be observing things like how many media show up and how each campaign staff operates. The university’s Presidential Debate Steering Committee Chair will also be keeping an eye on what happens outside the debate hall.

Related story: Poll: Most Americans Frustrated Over Presidential Race

“We have a zone set up we call our ‘public expression zone,'” he says, “for people who want to come and have their voices heard about one thing or another. We have a space set aside for that. It will be interesting to see what happens at Hofstra University, to see how many people show up in protest mode and what that will look like.”

Givens says they started preparing by watching the political conventions, to see how protests went in Cleveland, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He says their security team, which includes campus, St. Louis City and St. Louis County Police, keep in touch with the Secret Service.

And while many observers will be cheering for one candidate or the other as they watch Monday night, Givens says he’ll be cheering for Hofstra.

“I want the event to go off well, without interruption,” Givens says. “Technically successful. All the technical stuff that has to work, works.”

That’s also his goal for the Washington University debate, and after hosting four previous debates since 1992, he believes they’re ready for anything that might happen.

“It’s all about the team,” he says. “We have a really great team of people here and many of them have been through this before. We don’t get too shocked or surprised by what’s coming down the pike.”

(TM and ? Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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