Wright State University is pulling out as host of the first presidential debate, between the presumptive party nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, the Dayton Daily News reports. In announcing his decision, the university’s president, David R. Hopkins, said he had been motivated by concerns over cost and safety.
University officials had estimated the cost of holding the event, scheduled for September 26 on the campus’s Nutter Center, to be as much as $8 million, $3.5 million of which it had already raised. According to the newspaper, the university hopes to recover some of the $2-million fee it has paid the Commission on Presidential Debates. It had already spent roughly half a million dollars to upgrade its arena.
The university is struggling to cut costs amid a budget deficit, and critics have often questioned what colleges that host presidential debates get out of it.
Mr. Hopkins also said the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France, had affected the decision. “I can’t assure the safety of our students and the community,” he said, according to the newspaper.
Shortly after the news broke that Wright State was pulling out, the commission announced that Hofstra University, in New York, would take over as host, according to numerous media reports:
First presidential debate MOVED from Wright state in Dayton to Hofstra!
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 19, 2016
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#Break: CPD announces Sept. 26, Presidential Debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY instead of Wright State University.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) July 19, 2016