On October 29, US senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont visited U of T to speak about health care. Tickets were made available to the public online on October 20 at 10:00 am, and they were claimed within a minute.
According to U of T Director of Media Relations Althea Blackburn-Evans, there were 1,600 seats available for the event, though some were removed due to obstructed view. Thirty seats were allocated for U of T governors and 20 for “administrative staff,” including health science deans, vice-presidents, and staff working the event. Blackburn-Evans said roughly 50 media members would be present at the event.
“Our hope has always been to have many U of T students at the event,” said Blackburn-Evans. “Through the Vice-Provost, Students’ Office, we reached out directly to the 44 student societies across the three campuses. Those interested in attending were given two tickets per society, although UTMSU, SCSU, GSU, UTSU, APUS were given tickets for all members of their executive if requested.”
Seats for students were also offered to certain U of T faculties, such as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, the faculties of Nursing, Dentistry, Social Work, and Pharmacy, as well as the Centre for Study of the US at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
“We have confirmed that just over 50 per cent of Eventbrite registrants have identified as U of T students,” said Blackburn-Evans. The event was livestreamed by one of the partners of the event, the Broadbent Institute, for those who did not get tickets.
On the day of the event, over 30 spots remained empty among the floor seats, with dozens empty amidst the crowds in Con Hall.