South Bend Tribune
SOUTH BEND — University of Notre Dame officials declined Tuesday to say whether they’ll proceed with plans to host the first presidential debate Sept. 29 between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, after the University of Michigan announced it had canceled its debate.
The University of Michigan sent the Commission on Presidential Debates a letter stating the school had decided not to host its Oct. 15 debate because of the uncertainties the coronavirus has created for the fall semester, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned,” U-M President Mark Schlissel said in the letter.
The commission has moved the Oct. 15 debate to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami. Mayor Francis Suarez, who tested positive for coronavirus in March and whose city has been a coronavirus hot spot, said he welcomes the debate but isn’t sure it can have a live audience, Politico reported.
Notre Dame has planned a ticket lottery for students and a series of events related to the debate, such as a watch party in the football stadium, because seating is limited in Purcell Pavilion.
When announcing last year that the commission had approved Notre Dame’s application to host the debate, the university’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, said hosting the event was a natural fit with the school’s mission.
“Our democracy so badly needs a place where we can have serious conversations,” Jenkins said then. “We always welcome leaders from the various parties … so we can have serious conversations about the issues that confront us.”
SOURCE: HSPA InfoNet