Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community,
Regrettably, I have decided to withdraw the University as the host site for the first of the 2020 presidential debates, scheduled for September 29.
After consultation with Dr. Mark Fox, St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer, and with the unanimous support of the Executive Committee of our Board of Trustees, I have made this difficult decision because the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus. The inevitable reduction in student attendance in the debate hall, volunteer opportunities and ancillary educational events undermined the primary benefit of hosting — to provide our students with a meaningful opportunity to engage in the American political process.
I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours to 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.
Thank you for your understanding, and, 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, November 3.
In Notre Dame,
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.