The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Campus community prepares to host 2024 vice presidential debate

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Photo by Patrick Hansell for The Lafayette
The government and law department hopes to implement aspects of the debate into its curriculum.

Lafayette has begun preparing to host the 2024 vice presidential debate after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Nov. 20 that the event would be held in Kirby Sports Center next year.

“There’s been talk about inviting faculty to think about courses or course enhancements around the debate topics or the debate theme,” college President Nicole Hurd said. “We’re thinking about reaching out to Lafayette Votes and the Landis Center [and others] to think about how we lift up this idea of participating in our democracy in really exciting ways.”

According to Giulia Matteucci ’24, a student director of Lafayette Votes, the organization is scheduled to meet with the administration in the coming weeks about the debate and how it will function.

Hurd said that one of the points made to the Commission on Presidential Debates during the application process was the success of Lafayette Votes.

“Part of the reason why we were so excited to host this is the work Lafayette Votes has done,” she said. “[We] gave [the commission] the data about how much voter participation has increased on this campus … we’ve been able to do really great, nonpartisan civic participation work.”

In 2020, Lafayette Votes was able to foster high voting rates in the campus community at 82.9 percent, compared to the 66 percent average of college students nationally.

The government and law department is looking to integrate the debate into its curriculum.

According to an email from department head Helena Silverstein, government and law faculty “also look forward to partnering with other departments, programs, offices, and student groups to organize and support co-curricular activities related to the debate.”

While the department has not had a chance to meet since learning that the college would host the debate, Silverstein wrote that the subject will be discussed in the weeks and months ahead.

The debate is scheduled to be held on Sept. 25. Discussion surrounding the event has been occurring since March when the college officially put its hat in the ring as a potential host. Preparation included a visit from the Secret Service to make sure campus could be properly secured and confirmation that the surrounding area could handle the hotel accommodations necessary for the crowd that will accompany the event.

Students have had a largely positive reaction to the announcement of the debate.

“I think it’s great for the college to have this opportunity,” Annabelle Witkowski ’26, a government and law major, said. “Definitely good for future connections [and] publicity … I’m hoping that my professors make an effort to make sure that their students are aware that the event is happening.”

“I feel really proud that Lafayette is hosting an event like this,” Jillian Berger ’26 said. “I hope that there’s more education on political partisanship and how individuals choose to vote and how they can gain access to voting.”

Madeline Marriott ’24 contributed reporting.

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Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer
Patrick Hansell, Staff Photographer

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