HOUSTON – Texas Southern University is gearing up to host the third 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate on its campus Thursday.
What it means for the school?
The exposure will be historic for Texas Southern University. It’s the first time the historically black college will host a presidential debate. The event will take place at H&PE Arena, which can seat 8,200 people. Only 4,000 or so seats will be used for the debate, according to Steve Scheffler, associate vice president of marketing and communications for TSU.
“Some people think of TSU as the best-kept secret but this is a chance for us to showcase all the different talents that’s here,” Scheffler said.
Some TSU students hope the national spotlight their school will receive this week more funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also known as HBCU’s. Nahab Fahnbulleh, a senior at TSU and debate team member, said he hopes having the debate take place on his campus will lead to a focus on issues affecting minorities.
“We need politicians and political officials to recognize the significance that black people hold and the power that we hold,” he said. “So with the debate being on campus like I said right place, right time for all the right reasons.”
What students hope to hear from the candidates?
Alexandria Barnaba is also a senior and debate team member. Barnaba said in order for the top 10 candidates to get her vote, they would need to focus more on issues that impact her and her Houston community.
“Immigration, gun control, student loan forgiveness,” she listed. “Those are all really important things that I’m looking forward to in this next debate.”
The senior said she plans to vote based on policies rather than a political party.
“Right now I’m still just keeping my options open,” she said. I’m more policy-based than candidates. So the candidate that aligns the most with the policy that I want to push them that’s who will have my vote.”
Fahnbulleh shared a similar sentiment.
“I’m looking for candidates to push policies for universities, college debts and HBCU’s specifically,” he said. A major issue of mine is gun reform and gun policies. So that’s something I’m looking forward to.”
TSU was only given a small number of tickets to distribute among students, faculty and alumni. The school is hosting a watch party on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Granville M. Sawyer Auditorium. The public is invited but must reserve their spots in advance by clicking here.