President Bush came to Stanford today for a private dinner and I have never seen a visitor cause so much havoc to campus. Traffic on campus was completely screwed up starting mid-afternoon– foot traffic between Green Library and the Hoover Institute was completely shut down and police officers were directing traffic in random places all over campus, as far out as Sand Hill Road near SLAC. Aside from that, multiple military helicopters were flying pretty low over campus all afternoon. It was ridiculous. I mean, helicopters? Really?
When Chelsea Clinton was a student at Stanford and her parents came for visits, there was never this much disruption on campus. I mean, sure, when there were suddenly ten big black SUVs parked outside of Wilbur Hall or something, we knew the First Lady or the President was in town, but neither parent, including the Leader of the Free World himself, managed to shut down campus when he visited.
Of course, the real kicker is that it’s one of the worst weekends to have a high maintenance visitor come to campus– it’s Admit Weekend and over 1500 newly admitted students and their parents have been on campus since Thursday morning. Obviously, it’s a very busy and important weekend and I hear they already had to cancel an event at Memorial Auditorium (one of our largest indoor venues) because of the President’s visit. Shutting down foot traffic on parts of campus, having helicopters fly overhead constantly as Admit Weekend activities are occurring all over (indoor and outdoor), and just making it generally difficult to get around campus isn’t the best thing this weekend.
The only positive thing that I can take away from President Bush’s visit is that, just like everywhere else in the Bay Area, protesters were out and ready for his arrival, including students who had Admit Weekend responsibilities, but were sure to take time out to voice their opinions. It’s a part of Stanford that I’m kind of glad that ProFros (prospective freshmen) got a chance to see.