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University of Michigan no longer hosting presidential debate this year

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Posted at 7:32 AM, Jun 23, 2020

(WXYZ) — The second presidential debate scheduled for October 15 will no longer take place at the University of Michigan.

It will instead be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida.

The University of Michigan concluded that it is not feasible to host the debate as planned, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.

In a letter shared with the Commission on Presidential Debates, U-M President Mark Schlissel said, “It is with great disappointment that I must ask for the University of Michigan to be released from its agreement with the Commission on Presidential Debates to host the Presidential Debate on Oct. 15, 2020.”

Schlissel called hosting a presidential debate “a tremendous opportunity for our university community to contribute to one of the most important features of our democracy — the open exchange of ideas — while setting an example of civic engagement and shining a light on the outstanding academic strengths of our institution.”

But he said, “Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned.”

According to the university, they paid a $2.5 million fee for hosting the debate and around $560,000 in costs incurred so far they will not be able to recover.

The university said none is paid from the general fund, which pays for the academic enterprise, so no tuition dollars or taxpayer funds are used to pay for the debate costs.

View the full schedule for presidential debates below:

First presidential debate:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Vice presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Second presidential debate:
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL

Third presidential debate:
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Belmont University, Nashville, TN