ETTRICK, Va. — Virginia State University (VSU) announced Monday that it will host a presidential debate in 2024.
The university said it was the “first historically black college or university (HBCU) ever selected to host a U.S. presidential debate during a general election.”
“We are honored and grateful to have been chosen to host a 2024 presidential debate,” VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah said in a statement. “This is a historic moment for our university and for HBCUs nationwide.”
VSU students were also excited about the announcement, with Student Government Association President Kailyn Haye surprised that her school was chosen.
“I was really, really, really surprised. It usually went to a Howard, a Spellman, bigger institutions,” Haye said. “Everyone is really shocked. They’re like wow, we’re the first to do this. To be able to say that you are the first, it means a lot.
Haye also said that whoever the next president is, it is important that they listen to students’ concerns.
“Being able to hear…being able to hear where we come from, we want to feel heard. We want to be heard. Because they have the power to make change, at every level, in our lives ” Haye said. . “If you come here, you have to listen to us and know that we are serious about what we want, and if you are going to be the next president of the United States, you have to understand your voters, and what we want to see, and the change we want to see happen.”
The university’s assistant vice president for government relations, Eldon Burton, also said he was excited about the announcement.
“For me, I was a student here, I’m an alumnus. I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Capitol Hill and intern. It’s unclear how this might excite students, whether they’re in mass communications, political science or whatever, how it might inspire them to advance further in their careers.
The debate, scheduled for October 1, 2024 at the VSU Multipurpose Center, would be the second of three scheduled presidential debates.
In 2016, Longwood University hosted a debate between vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine.
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The University of Richmond was the site of a 1993 presidential debate between President George Bush, Democratic challenger Bill Clinton and third-party candidate Ross Perot. This debate was the first presidential debate conducted in a town hall-style forum.
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