University of Michigan will not host October 15 presidential debate

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Ann Arbor, Mich. (WLNS) — The University of Michigan will no longer host one of three presidential debates planned this fall in the run-up to the Nov. 3 general election citing COVID-19 related concerns with crowds.

Instead, the October 15 debate will be held in Miami, Florida at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“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,” University of Michigan President Schlissel said.

The university will, however, forge ahead with campus programming around the general election.

Michigan last hosted a presidential debate in 1992 at Michigan State University’s campus, featuring incumbent President George H.W. Bush, then-Governor Bill Clinton and businessman Ross Perot.

The other presidential debates will take place Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The University of Utah in Salt Lake City will host a vice presidential debate Oct. 7.

The “Democracy and Debate” theme semester will engage the university community around the topics of free speech and the exchange of ideas, what it means to be a member of a democratic society and democratic engagement from a global perspective.

Planning for virtual debate watch parties will continue and U-M students are actively competing in the Big Ten Voting Challenge.

Additional details on these and many other opportunities will be shared in the weeks ahead.

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