For the first time ever, an HBCU will host a presidential debate 

Dollita Okine November 24, 2023
Photo: Virginia State University

Virginia State University (VSU) has been chosen to host a presidential debate, becoming the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to do so. The school will host the second of three planned general election presidential debates on October 1, 2024, per the Commission on Presidential Debates.

President of the institution Dr. Makola M. Abdullah said in a statement, “We are honored and grateful to have been chosen as a host for a 2024 Presidential Debate.”

“This is a historic moment for our university and for HBCUs nationwide. Our university mantra is ‘Greater Happens Here,’ and we look forward to welcoming the candidates, the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the entire nation to the GREATER at VSU.”

The debate will be held at the VSU Multipurpose Center, a cutting-edge venue with all the amenities of a contemporary university and sophisticated audiovisual capabilities, perfect for such a high-profile event.

The Commission on Presidential Debates Co-Chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernández said in a statement, “The United States’ general election debates, watched live worldwide, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral setting.”

“This tradition remains unbroken since 1976. In 2024, students at our four debate sites will help bring another set of historic conversations to audiences here and abroad. And their campuses will anchor four unique chances to listen and learn,” they added. 

The first presidential debate will be held at Texas State University on September 16; the vice presidential debate will be held at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania on September 25; and the final presidential debate will be held at the University of Utah on October 9.

Virginia State University noted that the institution welcomes the opportunity, “to uphold its reputation for advancing social justice and shaping future leaders. The university also hopes to leverage this opportunity to reinforce campus conversations, listen and learn about varied viewpoints, and further exhibit why we are a leading institution in higher education.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 24, 2023


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