Notre Dame University has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden due to health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the school announced.
The debate is scheduled between September 29.
University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced that after consulting with St. Joseph County deputy health officer Dr. Mark Fox that “this difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”
This would have marked the first time that Notre Dame University hosted a presidential debate.
“I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding. But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event — as understandable and necessary as they are — have led us to withdraw,” Father Jenkins said.
“Despite this decision, I hope we will all remain attuned to the many important issues facing our nation during this election year — and, please, let’s exercise our right and privilege to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3.”
With Notre Dame withdrawing as host, the debate will move from South Bend, Indiana to the Health Education Campus (HEC) in Cleveland, Ohio. The debate will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic.
The second presidential debate is scheduled for October 15 and will be held in Miami, Florida at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The third and final debate is expected to be hosted by Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on October 22.