HBCU Dropped, Virginia State ‘Disappointed’


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A historically Black college (HBCU) is among the universities that have been dropped from the original schedule of the 2024 presidential debates after the top pair of presumptive nominees revised the previously agreed to hold just two debates.

The quick agreement between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump excludes a previously scheduled debate at Virginia State University (VSU). The storied institution located in the city of Petersburg would have become the first and only HBCU to host a presidential debate.

Instead, CNN is slated to host the first debate on June 27 and ABC will host the second one on Sept. 10, the Associated Press reported.

The now-canceled debate at VSU was scheduled to be held on Oct. 1 and would have been the second of three presidential debates this year.

VSU rejoiced back in November after announcing that it had been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates as a debate site.

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

On Wednesday, a “disappointed” VSU took a decidedly different tenor in response to the reports that the presidential debates schedule had been updated to exclude the HBCU.

While VSU was the first HBCU chosen to host a presidential debate for the general election, Texas Southern University in 2019 hosted a debate in Houston for candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in a field that included Biden and now-Vice President Kamala Harris.

Back then, the acting dean of Texas Southern University told ABC News why it was so important for a historically Black college or university to host such an event.

“A lot of people don’t even know HBCUs exist, they don’t understand or know the mission of our institutions or why they are still relevant today,” Dr. Rockwell Brown Burton said. “Some might argue they are not needed or that they’re not relevant, but I would strongly disagree.”

Meanwhile, it was announced on Thursday that Vice President Harris accepted an invitation from CBS News to participate in its vice presidential debate.

Trump has yet to announce a running mate who Harris, an unabashed HBCU alumna, would face on the debate stage at a date and location that is yet to be determined.


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