Wash. U. selected as backup site for 2012 Presidential Debates

| Managing Editor

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced Monday that Washington University has been selected as the backup site for the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates.

The three universities selected to host the presidential debates are the University of Denver, Hofstra University on Long Island in New York and Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. Centre College in Danville, Ky. was selected to host the vice presidential debate.

The University hosted the presidential debates in 1992, 2000, 2004 and a vice presidential debate in 2008. It was also selected to host the 1996 presidential debates, but they were ultimately canceled.

“Wash. U. has enjoyed a really long relationship with the Commission on Presidential Debates,” Assistant Vice Chancellor Rob Wild said. “For the past few cycles, we’ve gone into this wondering if our streak would be broken because they do rotate these sites around. We certainly weren’t surprised we weren’t selected, but we were disappointed, of course.”

Washington University is the only school that has been chosen to host debates five election cycles in a row.

The University did not apply to host its first debate in 1992, but the commission needed to host the debate in St. Louis, so they asked the University to host it with one week’s notice.

The University applied, and was selected to host debates in the following four cycles.

During the 2004 presidential debate, then Executive Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Janet Brown, praised the University.

“This campus is the gold standard for debates,” she said.

Earlier this year, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton told Student Life that he thought it was unlikely that the University would be chosen to host another debate.

“I think the prospects are low because we’ve been selected in every presidential election since 1992, but we’re ready to do it if we’re selected…but it has been proven that other places can do it well also,” he said.

Many students are disappointed that the University was not chosen to host this year.

“This year, the election is going to interesting. It would be interesting to see them talk,” junior Max Liu said. “I would have rather been selected.”

Students said they would have appreciated the excitement and discussion surrounding debates.

“I think that Wash. U. is a great place for the presidential debate because the school draws a large diversity of people and diversity of thought,” junior Rachel Tyroler said. “I think it’s a great way to engage the student body in politics.”

Others said they were not particularly upset by the announcement.

“I’m kind of unfazed by it. It’d be nice to have it here, but I’m not going to hit the streets and freak out about it,” senior Whit Chapman said.

In 2008 the University hosted the debate between vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

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