Limited attendance for debate

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Q: Will I be able to attend the vice-presidential debate at Longwood?

Community attendance at the October 2016 vice-presidential debate at Longwood University could be very limited.

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“Probably not,” reads a frequently asked questions webpage on Longwood’s debate website in response to a public attendance question. “It is not yet known how many people will be able to attend the debate in-person in Willett Hall or how many tickets Longwood would receive. Students will be prioritized,”

the site stated.

According to Matthew McWilliams, the director of communications and media relations at Longwood, “The Commission on Presidential Debates will handle all ticketing for the vice-presidential debate at Longwood next fall. In past debates, the ticket pool has been extremely limited and current students [could be] prioritized. Information for 2016 is yet to be determined but will be available at,” he said.

Janet Brown, the commission’s executive director, said “there won’t be any information on tickets [until] we’ve done a lot of work in the debate hall. It will be a year from now before we know anything for sure,” Brown said.

Work in the debate hall could include determining the set, format, camera positions and security options, Brown said.

“There will be ample opportunities for students and community members to engage and volunteer in campus events surrounding the debate. We will plan memorable events on campus to watch the debate and participate in the occasion,” McWilliams said.

In 2012, Centre College in Danville, Ky. hosted the vice-presidential debate. According to Michael Strysick, the college’s communications director, “in the week leading up to the debate, the commission historically releases some number of tickets to the host institution, and in the case of our college’s president, those tickets went exclusively to students,” Strysick said. “In addition, many students worked as ushers in the debate hall, so the number of students in the venue grew even larger. Students also had many, many opportunities to get involved in the debate, working as volunteers (sometimes paid) for the many media organization that descended on Danville.”