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October Interview


Reveley says Longwood has seen an 11 percent jump in student applications.


is 9/11, and they’ve seen recession and news like we’ve seen across the country and across the world this summer. In some ways [this event] is a celebration of democracy, but it’s grounded in the reality of the troubled world that we’ve got right now … and democracy only works to the extent that it can navigate its way through the troubles we face. We … the Secret Service, state police, Farmville police, our own highly decorated police force here at Longwood are intensely mindful of the public-safety aspects …


VB: What preparations began to be set in place once Longwood was selected? What did you do first when McCurry asked you if you were busy on October 4th


?


Reveley: We’ve always wanted to make two big things happen. We really want this intergalactic TV event that 50 or 60 million people or more will tune into on October 4th


… So in that regard the first


thing was getting to a lot of the technical details I mentioned ear- lier, [such as] the IT infrastructure.


campus preparation, infrastructure improvements, academic and public programming … and the $150,000 to $200,000 in advertising we’ve spent up to this point — all of which comes from a fund set aside for special projects such as this.


VB: Do the parties’ choices for presidential and vice-presidential candidates have a bearing on secu- rity issues? Reveley: Yes … Practically speak- ing, it’s always a little bit easier in an election year in which there’s not an incumbent … because security around a sitting president or a sit- ting vice president is obviously at another scale than for candidates. So although it is a little bit easier from a security standpoint this year, we’re taking every precaution. From


22 OCTOBER 2016


the bigger standpoint, what is always neat about the vice-presidential elec- tion is that the … vice-presidential candidates, while known to political insiders, have a freshness to the broad, general public that is really alluring …


VB: Have the thoughts of protestors, potential violence and 24-hour security kept you grounded in reality — compared to your visionary ideal of teaching about democracy through the debate? Reveley: Yeah, I always think about the students who are in col- lege today — who were born in the mid-to-late-’90s and who have never known anything except the tribula- tions of terror and war … Their first real memory at a national scale


VB: What was the second thing you wanted to achieve? Reveley: The second big thing was to ensure that it bears on what we are otherwise doing … that it fits into our strategic goals. A great example of that is what we are doing with our curriculum this fall around the debate because we are in the midst of reforming our general-education curriculum altogether to make citizenship the north star for it. So to have the chance in essence to pilot this fall a number of courses that are examples of the way we might handle our curriculum in the future has been great for us.


VB: What has been the impact thus far on the university as a result of being the debate site? Reveley:We had a really nice jump in applications already from the spring of ’15 to the spring of ’16. The jump [was an increase] of about 11 percent, and now that


Photo by Mark Rhodes


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