Barr arrives at rally

Congressman Andy Barr arrives at the rally.

UPDATE: Amy McGrath, Barr's Democratic rival in the midterm elections, tweeted a one-line response to the Trump-Barr rally.

" Mr. President, you clearly don’t know me. Yet."

EARLIER: President Trump has taken the stage in Alumni Coliseum.


EARLIER: One protester has been arrested outside of Alumni Coliseum.


EARLIER: Saturday 10/13 6:52 p.m. President Trump arrives in Richmond.



EARLIER: Interstate 75 has been temporarily shut down to allow the presidential motorcade access.


EARLIER: Saturday 10/13 5:38 p.m. Air Force One has landed in Kentucky.


EARLIER: More protesters have arrived on the scene leading crowds in chants.



EARLIER: Saturday 10/13 5:01 p.m.

Congressman Andy Barr, who is campaigning for re-election in the upcoming midterm elections, has arrived at Alumni Coliseum.


EARLIER: Saturday 10/13 4:43 p.m.

With crowds on both sides of the political aisle showing up to make their voices heard at the rally, EP reporters have gone into the crowds to hear what brought them to campus today.

EARLIER: Thursday 10/11 10:21 p.m.

EKU and the Division of Public safety have sent out a university-wide email detailing traffic, parking, banned items and rules for public demonstration during Saturday's Trump rally.

The Commonwealth Employee lot, Commonwealth Residential lot, Whitlock lot, Mattox lot, Model lot and Alumni Coliseum lot will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian access (except for Alumni, where only pedestrian access will be allowed on Saturday) beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12. Violators will be towed after this time.

Congested traffic around Alumni Coliseum is expected to begin around 6 a.m. Saturday and last through midnight, according to the email. Public Safety predicts short-term road closures at any time and subsequent delays. They advise any student planning to leave for fall break to leave Friday at the latest. 

The EKU Police Department will work with "a large number of officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies," the email read. Additional officers will patrol campus and surrounding areas, responding to incidents as needed. In the case of a campus-wide emergency, EKU will send out an alert through the RAVE notification system.

Folding chairs, small coolers and umbrellas will be allowed outside Alumni Coliseum, but not inside. Also banned inside are items like selfie sticks, backpacks, aerosols, balloons, paint, confetti, E-cigarettes and flagpoles. For a full list of secret service and university-banned items, click here.

Attendees can park in the following lots beginning Saturday at 7 a.m.: Lancaster, Parking Garage, Brockton, Dizney, Hanlon, Ashland, Carter, Business and Technology Center, Center for the Arts, Stratton, Perkins, Lower Perkins and the Big E Lot. Overnight camping or parking is not permitted. No vehicles will be permitted to park in general Alumni Coliseum parking.

Campus areas not designated as restricted are open to public demonstration and expression as long as they do not violate EKU Policy. To see a map of restricted zones and event parking, click here.

Those wanting to reserve dedicated spaces for demonstrations should contact EKU Conferencing and Events to place a request. All indoor spaces, amphitheaters, areas and buildings within athletic facilities, parking lots and parking structures, intramural fields and other recreational areas and residential areas, including sidewalks and pedestrian walkways are available by reservation only.

The rally is expected to end around 9 p.m. Public Safety urges attendees at call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. Those wanting to report suspicious activity or potential threats to safety can contact EKU Police at 859-622-1111 or through the LiveSafe app, according to the email.


EARLIER: Thursday 10/11 12:22 p.m.

EKU President Michael Benson addressed students' worries over their safety in an email sent around 9:52 p.m. Wednesday night.

Following a conversation with concerned students in John Grant Crabbe Library Tuesday night, Benson tried to reassure them that their thoughts were heard and appreciated.  

"You spoke with passion and conviction and emotion, and I thank you for your forthrightness and courage," Benson wrote. "Our primary responsibility is to our students and creating an environment where they can be successful: academically, socially, intellectually and personally. And an environment where they can feel safe physically."

Benson said the university would do everything in its power to "create, maintain and sustain that physically safe environment" and would "always work to foster an environment of mutual respect" in accordance with its policies against harassment and discrimination.

But Benson also challenged students to be open-minded of other perspectives, and reminded them that the university could not fully protect them from comments or language they found offensive.

Quoting a recent speech from Van Jones, an attorney, CNN contributor and former advisor to former president Barack Obama, Benson wrote "I don't want you to be safe, ideologically. I don't want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong. That's different. . . I want you to be offended every single day on this campus. I want you to be deeply aggrieved and offended and upset, and then to learn how to speak back. Because that is what we need from you in these communities.”

Benson also touched on the First Amendment and why EKU could not deny Trump the space to speak.

"The event this Saturday neither defines who we are nor what we stand for, but it can provide a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other, to buoy each other up, and to stand for our own principled perspectives—always mindful of others and respectful of differing opinions," Benson wrote.

Reactions to the president's comments were mixed.

EARLIER: Wednesday 10/10 8:06 p.m.

The Richmond Police Department have designated a protest zone for Saturday's Donald Trump rally, according to a Facebook post by the Bluegrass Activist Alliance, organizers of the protest.

The zone will be located between Keene Hall and the Center for the Arts, with a plastic fence surrounding the area. There will be room for tables and chairs, and police will monitor the zone to keep the area under control.


EARLIER: Tuesday 10/9 1:30 p.m.

Tyler Frazier, the Chair of the Madison County Democrats, released a statement regarding President Trump's visit to campus.

"It is a historic event for Madison County to host the President of the United States. This visit demonstrates the importance of our citizens’ voices and is a great opportunity for our community to shine.

While many may disagree with various political events and policy, civility and respect should be paramount to all parties. The Madison County Democratic Party does not organize protests; however, we do recognize an individual’s Constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest.

Many from Madison County, surrounding areas and beyond will be in town to make their voices heard. We encourage a show of respect from all who come out for this event, in order to promote substantive political dialogue rather than partisan name calling.

Madison County’s importance in regional, state and national politics has never been more evident. We encourage everyone to educate themselves on party and candidate platforms. Make your voice heard by voting on November 6th," said Frazier.


EARLIER: Tuesday 10/9 12 p.m.

Congressman Andy Barr's campaign released a statement regarding President Trump's visit to campus.

"On Friday, we learned that the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 49 years, and the President who made that happen is coming to Kentucky.  I’m honored to welcome President Trump to the Sixth District to speak to Kentuckians in advance of the November 6th election. Kentuckians are better off today because of the policies I voted for and the President signed into law.


Thanks to tax cuts, deregulation and reforms to increase Americans’ access to the financial system, we’ve delivered faster economic growth, more jobs and bigger paychecks.  We’re rebuilding the military and reforming the VA. And we’ve made the largest investment to date to combat the opioid epidemic that’s ravaging so many of our communities.


That’s why this election offers a clear choice between conservative leadership that has delivered results and liberals who promise to take us back to the days of fewer jobs, lower wages, and a destructive war on our coal communities. Why would we want to go back to that?  President Trump’s economic policies are working for Kentucky.


I’ve had lengthy discussions with the President about issues impacting our district, and I look forward to having him here to share with our constituents how he plans to continue making America great again," said Barr.


President Donald Trump will host a political rally in Alumni Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 13, the Richmond Register confirmed Friday. Trump is expected to rally support for 6th District Congressman Andy Barr, who is running for re-election against Democratic candidate Amy McGrath.

At 6:13 p.m., the EKU president’s office sent out a university-wide email to address the news.

“The campaign contacted EKU concerning the availability of our facilities,” the email read. “As with all facility rentals, the University remains non-partisan with respect to any endorsement of a political candidate.”

One protest has already been announced by the Bluegrass Activist Alliance. The university is preparing for potential safety threats.

“The EKU Police Department, public safety, conferencing and events, and facilities teams are working closely with local, state and federal officials and law enforcement to assist with the logistics of the event,” the email read.

EKU students weighed in on the announcement on Twitter:

“Free speech is a key part of the learning experience at EKU. It is also a cultural characteristic of higher education institutions across the nation,” the email read. “We encourage our University community to be informed and engaged in the political process. However, we understand this election season has been filled with a number of passionately debated issues and we encourage our community to remain civil and respectful of differing political opinions in the discourse surrounding the rally.”

The rally is set to begin at 7 p.m., with general admission doors opening at 4 p.m. The Eastern Progress will continue to provide updates of this story and coverage of the rally.


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