The U.S. Department of State is responsible for protecting the Dalai Lama during his visit Thursday and Friday to Danbury, but local police are ready to lend a hand. During his two lectures, Western Connecticut State University's Westside Campus will be closed to all unauthorized traffic, and morning and afternoon classes will be canceled.
"The WCSU Police Department is coordinating with the Connecticut State Police, the Danbury Police, Danbury emergency services, and the U.S. Department of State, which is responsible for the Dalai Lama while he is in the country," said Paul Steinmetz, interim Vice President for Institutional Development. "On campus, our emergency preparedness team has met to plan for contingencies such as power outages and the like."
The Danbury Police Department will assist with traffic issues and with security, if asked by WCSU, said Department Spokesman Thomas Michael.
"Whatever they ask, we'll show up and help," Michael said. "This is their thing. They're in charge."
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said he doubts the city will incur any overtime costs or special expenses during the visit.
"Zero costs. It's a WestConn deal," Boughton said. "I don't think we've met with the Dalai Lama's people at all."
"Classes are canceled on the Westside for the day, but the public is invited to hear the Dalai Lama for free," Steinmetz said. He explained evening classes will be held as normally scheduled. Only the morning and afternoon classes are canceled. People can hear his lectures for free at the simulcast at Ives Concert Hall, 181 White St., or on WXCI Radio (91.7 FM) or by visiting www.wcsu.dalailama.org, and clicking on the live link. The simulcast, radio broadcast and the web program will air when the Dalai Lama is speaking, which is 1:30 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 a.m. Friday.