HAMPTON, Va. (June 20, 2018) – Hampton University and Liberty University are pleased to announce that they have issued a joint invitation to the major-party candidates seeking election to the U.S. Senate to participate in two debates in the fall. The first proposed debate would be held in Hampton at Hampton University’s historic Ogden Hall, and the second proposed debate would be held in Lynchburg at Liberty’s new state-of-the-art Center for Music and the Worship Arts concert hall.
In addition, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters has agreed to partner with the two universities in promoting, producing, and broadcasting both debates on live statewide television. Students from Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications will also assist in the production of the debate on Hampton’s campus.
Earlier this year, the two schools met to discuss their mutual interest in looking for ways to work together to advance their shared goals of providing the best educational opportunities for their students and promoting the public good by offering a statewide platform for robust civic discourse. The two schools’ shared commitment to Jefferson’s idea that only a well-educated citizenry can preserve the promise of the American republic led them to offer to host these two debates during this important U.S. Senate election.
Hampton University is located in one of the most populous regions in the Commonwealth and has an unparalleled history of leadership as one of the top historically black universities in the world. Liberty University is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia and is the largest Christian university in the world.
Kelly Harvey-Viney, the Director for Hampton University’s Center for Public Policy, said: “The partnership between Hampton and Liberty is an example of institutional civic engagement at its best. As our schools have connected across regional and ideological lines, so should our state and congressional officials in order to carry out what is in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia. We need to have an honest conversation. Our children’s future depends on it, and these debates are critical in allowing that to happen.”
“We are very excited about the prospect of hosting these two important debates with Hampton University and the Virginia Association of Broadcasters,” said Robert Hurt, a former U.S. Representative and the Director of Liberty’s Center for Law and Government. “The race for U.S. Senate in Virginia will be one of the important elections to follow in the fall, and we hope that our students and the public will benefit from what promises to be a lively and informative exchange of ideas at a critical time in the history of our nation."
"We hope our collaborative partnership with Liberty University showcases what wonderful things can be achieved when institutions with different educational missions and leaders with open minds work together to promote broader civic objectives,” added Paul C. Harris, a former Virginia delegate and Hampton University’s senior vice president. “What binds Hampton and Liberty in this unlikely endeavor is our shared passion for the value that rigorous political debate plays in the proper function of an educated citizenry.”