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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA president: Obama visit helps with healing

UA President Robert Shelton said he wished he were meeting the president of the United States under different circumstances.  

“”It’s hard to think of something good coming out of such a deep tragedy,”” Shelton said, but noted that the university is “”very proud to have (the memorial service) on the UA campus. It’s a practical and symbolic sign that it’s here.””

The UA’s Campus Emergency Response Team came together on Saturday after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, representative for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. Shelton said after deciding the memorial was a necessary event, it was an organic step for the university to “”take the bold plunge”” and invite the president.

“”It’s how we are taking one small step to heal,”” he said.

“”It’s obviously a connection to the congresswoman and the federal judge,”” Shelton noted of the president’s arrival, “”but it overrides any political consideration.””

Shelton felt that the connectivity of the university with the surrounding community is representative of Tucson’s citizens and “”the resiliency of the human spirit. (We are showing) it’s OK to grieve and share that grieving with others.””

The memorial service will start at 6 p.m. today, and President Barack Obama’s speech is slated to last around 15 minutes.

The Secretary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder will attend. Gov. Jan Brewer is also scheduled to speak at the event.

Overflow areas aren’t confirmed, but the Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium baseball field and Arizona Stadium have both been proposed as places to watch the speech. The final overflow venues weren’t released as of press time.

Invitations have been extended to the first responders and the families of the victims as well as legislators from the state and federal levels. Shelton said he hasn’t reached out to the family of alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner but presumed they, like all the other families involved, wanted their privacy.

“”This is not all about people’s political views,”” Shelton added, reminding that the event’s intent has no partisan roots. “”It’s about bringing folks together.””

Students are hearing about the event in waves and planning on trying to attend.

“”We think it’s going to be really crazy,”” said Tasha Saffo, a veterinary science freshman. “”We’re going really early.””

Saffo said she wasn’t sure how many people were going to the event.

“”But I think it’s good for (Obama) to come down and talk.””


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