January 12, 2009 — Classes at the University of Virginia will be suspended Jan. 20 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to permit students to watch Barack Obama's inauguration.
"The coming together of a nation at the same time every four years for presidential inaugurations — as dictated by the Constitution for noon on Jan. 20 — is an educational moment that binds us as a nation and a people," Arthur Garson Jr., executive vice president and provost, wrote in an e-mail sent today to the University community.
John Paul Jones Arena will host live coverage of the swearing-in ceremony, Garson said. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m., and coverage is set to begin at 11:30 a.m.
Classes will resume at 2 p.m.
"The technological sophistication of the JPJ allows us to make this event available," he wrote in his email. "I hope you will be able to take advantage of attending."
C-Span has agreed to provide a feed for the swearing-in ceremony and the parade, according to Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. He noted that work schedules for University staff are not being altered, but that employees may view the event during their lunch periods.
Other areas of the University are also planning viewing events.
Video coverage will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in six University Library facilities: Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections, Fiske Kimball Fine Arts, Brown Science and Engineering, the Alderman Library media wall and Clemons. The Scholars' Lab in Alderman will take a social networking approach, with Twitter feeds and Flickr photos, along with a geographic "mash-up" showing where comments are originating.
Audio will be added only for the swearing-in and Obama's inaugural speech. "We are a library, after all," said Charlotte Morford, director of communications. Watch the Library's Web site for updated information.
The Alumni Association will set up two large viewing screens and chairs in its ballroom in Alumni Hall starting at 11:30 a.m. Attendees are welcome to brown-bag. "We'll stay open as long as people want to watch the parade," said Tom Faulders, president and CEO of the Alumni Association.
Email U.Va. Media Relations if you know of other viewing events.