Obama and McCain Coming to Lerner on 9/11!

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Holy shit.

Spec is reporting that the candidates will speak on behalf of ServiceNation, an organization that aims to increase public service participation.

We’re trying to figure out whether the event is open to students, and will be updating as we do.

According to the NonProfit Times, 500 seats have already been filled: “500 supporters are expected at the event in New York City. On September 12, leaders representing many sectors of American life will convene to ratify a Declaration of Service and to draw national attention to the platform of ServiceNation.” Roone’s seating capacity is 1,500.

UPDATE 8:17 PM: Infuriatingly vague news about ticketing in PrezBo’s mass email: “Given our limited space, we will ensure that all seating available goes to students in our University community. Students will receive a follow-up email tomorrow with details regarding how to register for the ticket lottery.” (full e-mail after the jump).

UPDATE 9:45 PM: The major political campus groups seem to have been completely blindsided by the announcement as well–the College Democrats were just beginning their freshman open house when they got the news, and the packed Broadway room gasped in unison when President Chris Daniels dropped the bomb at the end of his speech. The Dems may ask for a Jumbotron screen on one of the lawns, a la Ahmadinejad last year. Outside the Broadway room, Bwog hailed a rushing CCSC President George Krebs, who said he just heard about it and would be meeting with administration to discuss particulars tomorrow.

Columbia Political Union head Nick Shea said he also found out like everyone else, and that the group will likely plan “one or more events around the same time as the McCain/Obama event.” The College Republicans’ Executive Director Lauren Salz have not yet responded to inquiries says that the CUGOP “did not hear about Obama and McCain coming until the Spectator asked me for a comment.  I think it’s amazing that both candidates are going to share the stage at Columbia.  We don’t have any events planned right now, but if we do plan events, they are not going to be partisan in nature.  It’s September 11th, and the theme of the event is public service and non partisanship, so we will not be holding any sort of rally in support of McCain.”

Dear fellow member of the Columbia community,

I am delighted to welcome you back for the new academic year with some exciting news. Columbia University has been selected to host “ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum” next Thursday evening as a partner in the ServiceNation Summit that will take place in New York on September 11-12.

On September 11, a day of remembrance that ServiceNation organizers intend for nonpartisan reflection on our obligations as citizens, we look forward to welcoming both Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama back to our campus for a nationally broadcast conversation in Alfred Lerner Hall about the future of national service moderated by TIME Magazine editor Richard Stengel and PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff. Governor David Paterson is scheduled to provide a welcome to the event.

It is entirely fitting for us to become part of this two-day conclave that will bring together so many admired leaders in our country to consider ways to expand the scope and scale of successful service programs throughout the nation. Public service and active involvement in the issues facing our society have always been an essential part of Columbia’s identity and academic mission. As a leading research university in our nation’s greatest urban center, ours is a campus of robust engagement in the life of our neighborhood and City, our nation and our world.

Each year, thousands of Columbia students across all our schools, colleges and affiliates participate in hundreds of service learning, volunteer action and social entrepreneurship programs here in New York and across the globe. We look forward to having this very public event spark an ongoing conversation within our own University community about strategies to further enhance the role of service and citizenship in Columbia’s academic mission.

Given our limited space, we will ensure that all seating available goes to students in our University community. Students will receive a follow-up email tomorrow with details regarding how to register for the ticket lottery.

While it will not be a presidential debate, but rather two individual conversations, this nonpartisan Forum is one of only a few times that John McCain and Barack Obama are scheduled to appear on the same stage during the general election campaign. We are delighted to be part of an event on a theme so important to all citizens and to Columbians.


Lee C. Bollinger


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  1. 9/11

    Just seems to come earlier every year

  2. Holy Shit  

    I want tickets now.

  3. OMFG

    I want tickets soooooo bad.

  4. damn bwog  

    all you had to do was google service nation summit

  5. omg  

    Obama agreed to actually acknowledge this place? WOW

  6. desperate student  

    yeah, that service nation summit was definitely by invitation only, and their wait list is now closed.... but roone holds so many people! please let us in!!!!!

  7. can  

    we please boo him when he makes an alma mater reference? It will clearly be contrived for rhetoric's sake only

  8. it'll happen

    They will definitely be giving away tickets to this over the 500. They wouldn't host it on campus if they weren't getting some things out of it. But getting your hands on them will probably require being best buddies with LeeBo, or being willing to sleep with half of his staff.

  9. Kristopher Coolawick

    "Given our limited space, we will ensure that all seating available goes to students in our University community."

    Really. Like at least half the place won't be press, vip, security, etc? Right...

  10. Riven  

    Just like the last 'great' politician coming to CU, seating will probably go away under the table to people who knew early enough and to Grad Students...
    At least I saw Obama close up in Berlin

  11. Anonymous  

    How do you even get on the mailing list to get those emails from PrezBo?

  12. ...  

    i didn't get no email. was it sent university wide?

  13. univ email servers

    It takes the Univ email servers a while to cycle through everyone, and I think it is done alphabetically by last name from what an IT person told me last year. Mine is B, so I got the e-mail. You should have it in an hour or so.

  14. Quiet Guys  

    The less people who know, the more tickets for me :)

  15. Luntz  

    Say hello to anti-war protesters, "9/11 was an inside job" people, pro choicers, pro lifers, with sprinkles of Hillary or Die folks.

    Please keep them outside the gates, even the one who are students.

  16. umm  

    too soon guys, too soon

  17. ...  

    rnc live on right now...

    these people don't really look too happy...

  18. fsdfsdl

    I hope Columbians don't act like complete idiots at this event... You know, maybe make it possible that Obama will come back for commencement or something.

  19. carrot1274  

    I'll sleep with half his staff...the male half...

  20. it's kind of a shame

    that it's just a boring forum on community service. I still want my ticket, though.

  21. the  

    college republicans are still trying to figure out how to use the internet

  22. well

    not getting seats is a Columbia tradition:

    fun fact: even heads of states think Lerner sucks: We looked at Lerner, because we could fit more students in there," Kavelman said, "but the heads of state prefer Low, because it's kind of the signature building on campus. It seems like an honor to speak there."

    Also, last name starts with P, just got the email. Thanks CU!

  23. thank god  

    lydia is clearly back on the job

  24. I can't lie...  

    ...if Barnard kids get shut out from this I am going to be PISSED.

  25. shocked  

    god i'm excited. i want tickets.
    and can i just say, holy shit!

  26. I'll be

    happy so long as that trailer-trash/cheerleader/creationist/class-A bitch stays the hell away from my alma mater. and the white house.

  27. The ROSS  


  28. whatever

    Obama is not a baller

  29. CU student  

    The online site is not working!! HELP BWOG!!!

  30. Peggy McGilligan

    OMG! They’re back. I had no sooner reported The Democratic National Committee consigned to the dumper, than it popped up again that very night at the 9-11 Forum On Public Service & Civic Engagement. Held at Columbia University, Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME moderated the forum, staged by Service Nation, “a new nationwide coalition.” The DNC reemerged as The [International] Provisional People’s Collective Party, or PCP. And, guess what the PCP has in store: Political Officers, Commissars. The title Commissar refers to either a People’s Commissar (government), or a Political Commissar (military). In the Soviet Union, the Institute of Political Commissars was established to control the military. The state security organizations, KGB, etc., and or People’s Commissars also controlled the Soviet Army, together with the entire Soviet State. Compulsory Public Service is the future. All men will be judged politically; anti-Marxist sentiment will be crushed. We must have Commissars: But first we require a state organ with which to train the political functionaries who hold coequal rank and authority. Welcome comrade, to Hillary’s National Public Service Academy:

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