University of Michigan Declines to Host Presidential Debate, Citing Health Concerns

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The University of Michigan has declined to host one of three scheduled presidential debates between President Donald Trump and his opponent, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Mark Schlissel, the university president, made the announcement in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Schlissel noted the debate would have been “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.”

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“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,” he wrote.

The Biden campaign has refused to agree to an additional presidential debate after the Trump campaign pushed for a fourth debate to be added to the scheduled three that will take place this fall. The Michigan debate would have been the first in the state since 1992.

“Our position is straightforward and clear: Joe Biden will accept the Commission’s debates, on the Commission’s dates, under the Commission’s established format and the Commission’s independent choice of moderators,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same.”