Bubbling tensions surrounding the 2020 election are set to erupt across the country this week as many anticipate riots, protests, hate crimes, and other forms of civil unrest as the election results come out.
This race has surely been one that fills people up with a great deal of passion towards one side or the other, driving record-breaking numbers of voters to cast their ballot this election and worrying many about how the United States might take this election.
University administration and University Police (UPD) have not made any extensive plans to handle the potential disarray on campus resulting from the election but are equipped to deal with any conflicts that may arise.
“University Police remains prepared for any contingency and is in regular contact with leaders from across the university and in the community to support our students, and to ensure information is shared and resources are available if needed,” wrote Jennifer Wise, director of communications, in an email to The George-Anne.
UPD is often asked to watch events to ensure the safety of students expressing their opinions, said Chief Laura McCullough.
“[The training] is not new. It’s something that we practice, prepare and train for all the time,” said McCullough.
McCullough plans to wait and see what happens, sending officers to campus as needed and waiting for students to make reports by phone call to Public Safety or by text through the LiveSafe app.
“[Students] have a lot more eyes to see what’s going on than we do sometimes so we really rely on you guys to pick up on those things early,” said McCullough.
As per the university’s policy on Freedom of Expression, all students, faculty and staff may freely express their views anywhere on campus, added Wise.
“People being able to voice their opinion is one of the luxuries of living in our country and we want to support you guys in that as long as it’s in a safe and respectful manner,” said McCullough, “We will always support you in that because that’s what we’re here for.”
The Statesboro Police Department has also taken precautions today by sending all officers to polling places to keep watch, and since they expect the worst of it to come this weekend, all staff will be on duty Saturday.
“Our goals are to facilitate free speech and to de-escalate any rising tensions,” said Statesboro PD Chief Mike Broadhead.