Indiana U. Not Chosen As Site For 2008 Presidential Debates

This story was written by Brian Spegele, Indiana Daily Student
The presidential debates next year will not be held at Indiana University, though the university was considered to host an event, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday.

IU and the city of Bloomington submitted a proposal to bring one of the debates to Bloomington, and the Commission on Presidential Debates toured IU in July and approved the University as a potential host.

The Commision selected universities in Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and New York instead. In addition, Bloomington was not chosen as a as a back-up site for the events either.

The Commission selected Belmont University, Hofstra University and the University of Tennessee to host the three Presidential debates next year, while Washington University in St. Louis will host a Vice Presidential debate.

"While we are disappointed, we know that the extensive effort that went into our proposal to host one of the debates was not wasted," IU President Michael McRobbie said in a news release. "This was a tremendous learning experience for our students, who took the lead in developing and carrying out this initiative."

Student leaders including IU Student Association President Betsy Henke had originally led an effort to bring the debates to IU last spring. University and Bloomington officials including McRobbie and Mayor Mark Kruzan had both supported the effort as well.

"What I was most pleased with was that it started with a student initiative and the whole campus bought into it," said Bruce Jacobs, a leading administrative voice for the proposal and IU vice chancellor for auxiliary services and programs.

But despite continued optimism by IUSA leaders that Bloomington could likely be selected as a host city for the event, others speculated IU would not be chosen because Indiana has not typically been classified as a swing state.

"We had submitted a competitive bid," said Jeff Fraser, IUSA debate director. "Apparently something was not up to par."

Not so, said Janet Brown, executive director for the Commission. While she expressed appreciation for IU's proposal, she said a state's political leanings did not play into selecting debate venues.

"The unfortunate part of this business is in many years you have more good sites than debates," Brown said.

Monday's announcement marks the end of what has been a months-long joint effort by IU and Bloomington to help get the university selected. Organizers had lauded the potential for the debate as one of the biggest events ever to occur at IU.
© 2007 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE