Notre Dame and U of M to Host First 2020 Presidential Debates

Calling it a “sacred moment,” in American politics, Father John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame announced this afternoon that the university in South Bend will be the host of the first of three Presidential Debates in the 2020 Election process next year.

Just re-elected himself to a fourth 5-year term as President of the University, Jenkins stepped up to the mic on campus today to reveal that following successful application to the United States Commission on Presidential Debates, Notre Dame has been selected as the host site for the first Presidential Debate on Tuesday, September 29th, 2020, and the University of Michigan will host the second.

Saying it will be held at the Joyce Center on campus, home of Notre Dame basketball and many major events, Jenkins says that the world’s attention will be on the university and the entire region as they host the first of a total of four debates, three of them with Presidential candidates and one with Vice Presidential candidates.

The second Presidential Debate will be hosted by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on Thursday, October 15th, 2020, and the third at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee a week later on Thursday, October 22nd. The lone Vice Presidential Debate will be take place on the campus of the University of Utah on Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 in Salt Lake City.

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Saying, “There is so much noise and spin and presentation,” revolving around the Presidential Debates, it is also “a time when candidates are asked to engage in serious debate” on serious issues facing the nation and, “That’s a sacred moment when the discussion takes place,” so that voters can make an informed decision.

Jenkins says that he presumes that the University’s exhibited capabilities in regularly handling crowds in excess of 100,000 several times a year on campus likely came into play, because they clearly have the ability to handle the complicated logistics involved in such a venture. He says, “We can handle it, and we’re well prepared to take this one.” That was probably a strong factor in the selection of Notre Dame for a Presidential Debate site.

People in the region curious about ticket availability for the event will have to wait for details at a later date, but Jenkins says, “They will be very limited, and we have no word on the distribution process or volume of tickets that will be available” for the event at this time.

Jenkins says that Notre Dame was also likely selected, like the U of M and Utah because the Commission on Presidential Debates “likes the university setting.” Applications had to be submitted and visits followed to discuss logistics before the final selection process was completed.

The University’s newly re-elected President adds, “The University’s role is as a forum for serious conversations,” adding, “We need to engage on serious topics across the political spectrum, and we always welcome people to share prominent expression in an effort to provide that forum.”

Logistics will turn to housing for key people at hotels and motels across the region preparatory to the debate, but Jenkins says with past experience, they can handle it.

He notes, “We’ve had Presidential visits and other world dignitaries on campus on may occasions, but this is a first, to host a Presidential Debate on campus has never been done here before,” and adds they are very much looking forward to the experience.