Ohio’s Wright State University has pulled out as the host of the first presidential debate, scheduled for September 26, citing rising costs and security concerns.
The debate will instead be held at the alternate site, New York’s Hofstra University.
“This is a very difficult decision,” Wright State President David R. Hopkins said in a statement on Tuesday. “But there has been a growing crescendo of concern about what it would take to guarantee the safety and security of the campus and the community. The expense would be daunting.”
The school had initially projected the cost of the debate at $3.5 million but more recent estimates ran as high as $8 million, Hopkins told the Dayton Daily News, explaining that the additional cost of security would be too much for the public university.
“We have a responsibility to our community both safety-wise and financially to do the right thing,” said Hopkins.
“It’s the responsible thing to do,” said Wright State Board of Trustees Chair Michael Bridges, supporting Hopkins’ decision. “While the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Wright State hosting the debate, the safety and security of the campus and community is of paramount importance.”
The announcement from Wright State came as Donald Trump is about to accept the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland later this week.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to be named the Democratic nominee in Philadelphia next week.