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Virginia State University out of negotiations to host national debate after presidential debate plans fall through

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia State University is not involved in discussions to host a presidential or vice presidential debate after plans to make it the first historically black college or university to host a presidential debate was officially scrappedaccording to a spokesman.

VSU was floated as a potential host site for a vice presidential debate by former President Donald Trump after President Joe Biden’s campaign said he would not participate in those appointed by a commission that selected VSU to be the first HBCU to hold a presidential debate.


“However, I know the university is not currently in talks with anyone about a national debate,” Gwen Williams Dandridge, VSU’s assistant vice president for communications, wrote in an email Monday.

The VSU statement comes after the commission that selected the university to host the second October presidential debate — the Commission on Presidential Debates — announced June 24 that VSU and the other three campuses selected to host debates were “released from their contracts.”

Virginia State University, was founded in 1882 and is located in Ettrickcreated one website dedicated to the planned debate at the VSU Multipurpose Center – which is still in operation.

Biden’s campaign sent a letter to the commission on May 15 informing it that the president would not participate in the debates announced by the commission, citing reasons such as the debates being scheduled after early voting has been cast — similar complaints that Trump’s campaign has made. .

The letter added that the commission’s “model of building huge spectacles with large audiences at great expense” is not needed or conducive to holding “good debates” and that it was “unable or unwilling to enforce” rules for candidates in the 2020 debates .

Commission Co-Presidents, Antonia Hernández and Frank Fahrenkopf, said in a statement that “it is unfair to ask the four campuses to continue preparing for their debates, as they have done since the November 2023 election. We are grateful to the sites and we are sorry to have come to this decision. We are appalled that students on the four campuses will not have the opportunity to participate in these historic voter education forums.”

Democrats and Republicans in Virginia were critical of the move and urged the prospective candidates to go ahead with a debate at VSU.

Trump took to social media to urge Biden to debate on Fox News at VSU or another location in Virginia, but Biden’s campaign reportedly rejected two additional debates that Trump’s campaign said it had agreed to, according to NBC News.

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