Utah presidential debate canceled by commission: ‘We are sorry to come to this decision’

SALT LAKE CITY — The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Monday that it has released the University of Utah and three other university sites from contracts to host the 2024 presidential debates. 

The 2024 debates between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump were scheduled to take place at Texas State University, San Marcos, on Sept. 16; Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., on Sept. 25; Virginia State University, Petersburg, on Oct. 1; and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Oct. 9. All four debates have now been canceled. 

Instead, the President and former President are slated to debate on CNN in Atlanta on Thursday, June 27, and at ABC News studios on Sept. 10, according to ABC.

In a statement released by the CPD on Monday, the commission stated that it was “unfair” to ask the four campuses selected to host the debates to continue preparation, given the Biden campaign’s May 15 letter saying it would not agree to debate under the commission during the 2024 general election campaign.

“We are grateful to the sites, and we are sorry to come to this decision. We are dismayed that students of the four campuses will not have the opportunity to participate in these historic voter education forums,” Antonia Hernández and Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chairs of the CPD, said in a joint statement.

The University of Utah published a statement on the cancellation to its website on Tuesday, but did not offer any additional comment on CPD’s decision.

The CPD has held 33 of its debates on college or university campuses since it was founded in 1987, with the goal of providing a neutral and educational platform for students to debate and learn about key issues.

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