UMass Boston student president pushing for debate between Brown and Warren
UPDATED: The Lowell Sun reports UMass Lowell and the Boston Herald are sponsoring a Sept. 27 televised debate, with NBC's David Gregory moderating.
UMass Boston’s student body president is reaching out to U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in an attempt to salvage the prospect of a televised debate on the Columbia Point campus.
Brown’s camp said earlier this week he could not participate in a debate he was invited to by Victoria Kennedy, the widow of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, because she declined to remain neutral in the race between the Cambridge Democrat and Wrentham Republican. The September debate would have been hosted by UMass Boston and the Edward Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, where Victoria Kennedy is president of the board of trustees.
In a letter delivered on Thursday to the Brown and Warren campaigns, Jesse Wright, the student body president at UMass Boston, invited them to a Sept. 27 debate co-sponsored by the student government and the university.
“The UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Government’s goal is to ensure that our community and most importantly our students do not miss the opportunity to see our democratic process at its best and to intimately hear and understand the priorities of each candidate working to represent them,” Wright wrote. “We encourage each of you to see this opportunity as one that not only showcases Boston’s only public university, but also one that provides a unique forum to reach a large and too often underappreciated demographic of voters.”
Wright wrote debate details could be worked out later, such as picking local media partners and identifying a “moderator and/or panel” to ask questions.
“We also want to make it known to both campaigns that the Undergraduate Student Government will not be endorsing a candidate, but rather will use this debate as an educational opportunity for our students and our community,” he added.
The campaigns were not immediately available for comment.
The candidates have agreed to three televised debates: one sponsored by a Boston media consortium, another sponsored by a Springfield media consortium, and the third sponsored by WBZ-TV.
Jim Barnett, Brown’s campaign manager, earlier this week rejected the invitation to the UMass Boston and Kennedy Institute debate, saying in a statement, “The Kennedy Institute cannot hold itself out as a nonpartisan debate sponsor while the president of its board of trustees gets involved in the race on behalf of one of the candidates.”