With such a short time before the election, apparently even third-party candidates are prone to last-minute cancellations. The CPU-sponsored debate between Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin that was scheduled for Sunday evening in Lerner has been cancelled.

In an email sent a short awhile ago, CPU Communications Director Lauren Salz wrote, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, several of the candidates decided not to participate in the debate at the last minute.” No word on which candidates spoiled the party first.

CPU’s next big event will be an appearance by Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, next Friday at 2:45 p.m. in Lerner Cinema. The full cancellation announcement is after the jump.

It is with great regret that we must inform you that the Presidential debate scheduled for this Sunday evening, hosted by the Columbia Political Union (CPU), will not be taking place.

Unfortunately, the nature of planning large-scale events with multiple participants, who at times have competing interests, is that nothing is ever set in stone until the very last moment.  Such was the case with this event.   Due to circumstances beyond our control, several of the candidates decided not to participate in the debate at the last minute.  Though the CPU Executive Board worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to make this event happen as planned, at 5 PM today we were finally forced to conclude it was no longer possible for us to host this event.

Despite the fact that this event will not occur, we believe it is a great testament to Columbia students’ interest in political discourse, their sense of civic responsibility, and their receptiveness to new ideas that all 275 tickets reserved for students were sold out within a day of being made available for an event on a Sunday evening before midterm exams.

The CPU Executive Board is committed to elevating political discourse on Columbia’s campus.  We work to provide members of the Columbia community with opportunities to engage with political ideas across a wide ideological spectrum and on a range of issues.  It was with these objectives in mind that we hoped to host this debate.  Our only interest was to give all candidates –either inside or outside the political mainstream– the opportunity to speak directly to students and the nation about the issues they deem critical for this country.  No one is more disappointed than us that this event will not be taking place.

Though we are disappointed, we have many great events planned for this year, and we will continue to pursue opportunities like this one in the future.   On Friday, October 24, at 2:45pm, the CPU will be hosting Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in Lerner Cinema.  We encourage everyone to attend this event.   

Thank you for your interest in this event, and for your patience with us over the past few days.  We hope to see you at our future events.


Lauren Salz

Communications Director

Columbia Political Union