Virginia State University will be first HBCU to host a presidential election debate

Virginia State University (VSU) is among the schools expected to host a 2024 general election presidential debate, making it the first historically Black college or university (HBCU) ever selected to host a general election White House debate.

“We are honored and grateful to have been chosen as a host for a 2024 Presidential Debate,” VSU President Makola M. Abdullah wrote in a statement. “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.”

Abdullah said the selection of VSU is a reflection of the school’s “commitment to sharing future leaders and cultivating a political discourse.”

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The debate at VSU will take place Oct. 1 at the school’s Multipurpose Center. More updates will be provided as the date approaches.

The Commission of Presidential Debates announced the venues for next fall’s debates Monday, with Texas State University tapped to host the first debate Sept. 16.

The debate at VSU on Oct. 1 will then be followed by one at the University of Utah on Oct. 9. One general election vice presidential debate will be held Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

It remains unclear if the general election events will go forward as planned as the Republican Party has vowed to boycott events held by the commission.

Recent polling suggests a rematch between President Biden and former President Trump is likely as the former president continues to maintain a wide lead over his rivals in the Republican presidential primary.

Trump has accused the Commission of Presidential Debates of anti-Republican bias. Last year, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted to effectively bar its presidential nominees from events organized by the group.

The former president has also not attended any of the RNC’s past three primary debates, instead holding counterprogramming events like rallies and a pre-taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

A series of recent polls have shown Biden either locked in a tight race with Trump or trailing him in some cases. A poll from The New York Times and Siena College released earlier this month shows Trump beating Biden in five out of the six battleground states that were polled.

The White House and the Biden campaign largely shrugged off those findings and have rejected suggestions he should consider stepping down as the Democratic party’s nominee.

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