July 14, 2024

Hundreds turned away from time travel lecture due to lack of space

Students flock towards the auditorium door, only to be turned away.
Students flocked toward the auditorium door only to be turned away.

A large crowd of people showed up to UT’s University Center Thursday, Nov. 14 to hear esteemed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku speak about time travel, but many students left empty-handed. After waiting in a line that stretched outside and around the building, hundreds were told to leave the UC because of a lack of space.

“I had waited outside in the cold for nearly an hour, and once I finally got inside, I was immediately told to leave,” said sophomore James Agan, who was hoping to attend the speech. “It was very disappointing how the situation was handled. People were cutting in line and rushing towards the door just trying to get in, and many of us never even got a chance.”

Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York, was presenting a lecture focused on time travel, which touched on topics from his best-selling novel. The UT Issues Committee had reserved space for the speech in the UC auditorium, but as more people piled in, the situation got out of hand.

“At one point, someone who worked at the UC told everyone behind a certain sign to leave, which then led to many people pushing forward past the sign and further into the building,” Agan said.

Agan said he spoke to a member of the Issues Committee who said the crowds filled the auditorium as well as the nearby Shiloh Room and ballroom. The member said that 800 people were allowed into various “overflow rooms,” but the UC had no more room for them. Disgruntled attendees filed out of the building eventually but only after they were told repeatedly to leave.

“I understand that there’s a maximum capacity for the building, but the situation wasn’t handled well,” Agan said. “With crowds this big, you have to be organized … I just hope that in the future, they will be better prepared.”


Edited by Jennifer Brake