Security will be a top priority on Washington University’s Danforth Campus in the days leading up to and including Sunday, Oct. 9, when the presidential debate will be held in the Athletic Complex on the western edge of campus.

While many details of security plans must remain confidential in order to preserve the overall integrity of the operation, the university community should be aware of a number of measures that will cause disruption to normal life on campus.

Students, faculty and staff should be mindful of the following:


  • CARRY A VALID UNIVERSITY ID AT ALL TIMES. On Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9, campus will be accessible only to students, faculty and staff with a valid Washington University ID; and media or vendors who are credentialed to be on campus through the university and/or the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS).
  • STUDENT GUEST POLICY IS SUSPENDED OCT. 7-10. Non-Washington University students will not be permitted to register as guests during this time. See the Residential Life website for more information.


  • A security fence is in place around a portion of campus that includes the Athletic Complex, Seigle Hall, the Upper Row of Fraternity Row and Francis Field. Residents of the affected fraternity houses have received information about security requirements and instructions for accessing their residences. Beginning Friday, Oct. 7, only residents of the houses will be allowed inside the buildings.
  • The U.S. Secret Service will conduct a security “sweep” of the areas inside the secure perimeter sometime on Saturday, Oct. 8. After this time, only those with a valid CPD/USSS credential will be allowed inside the perimeter.


  • The university has designated a Public Expression Zone for the campus community and members of the public who wish to assemble and exercise their right to free speech. The zone will be located at the southeast corner of Big Bend and Forsyth (commonly known as the softball or intramural field). A sound system and stage will be available for those wishing to make public statements. Any group or individual wishing to use the stage and sound system must submit a completed Public Expression Zone and Speaker Permit Application. Law enforcement officers will be present in the Public Expression Zone to ensure the safety of all participants and visitors.
  • For members of the Washington University community, the university policy on free speech, assembly and expression provides guidelines for activities related to the exercise of these rights, including peaceful assembly.

For more information about how the debate will affect our campuses and community, visit the For Our Community section of this website.