Photo of the courtyard of the Samson Pavilion with red carpet covering the floor, trees in planters surrounding the area and the debate stage with lights overheads

In the Spotlight

What to expect as the first presidential debate of 2020 takes place at the Health Education Campus

In late July of this year, Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic’s Health Education Campus was announced as the site for the first presidential debate of 2020. Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, the event will come to fruition as candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden take to the stage in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion. 

Presented by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the debate is set to last for 90 minutes as FOX News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace moderates a discussion of the candidates’ political records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election. 

What to Expect 

As detailed on our official debate website, teams from the university and Cleveland Clinic have worked closely with local, state and federal agencies to prioritize the health and safety of the campus community. 

On-campus operations have been suspended through midnight tonight, and today’s classes have transitioned to remote instruction with the exception of select courses that cannot be delivered remotely. Similarly, faculty and staff are to work remotely today with the exception of individuals deemed essential to campus operations; please refer to the Sept. 25 email from Carolyn Gregory, vice president for human resources, for further information and instruction on how to report time worked. 

Parking restrictions and street closures will be in effect today through 6 a.m. Wednesday as part of extensive security precautions surrounding the event. Impacted streets include: 

  • Euclid Avenue from East Boulevard to E. 118th Street
  • Juniper from East Boulevard to E. 115th Street
  • Wade Oval East Boulevard to East 108th Street
  • Stearns Avenue to Cedar Avenue
  • Cedar Avenue from E. 89th Street to E. 105th Street
  • East Boulevard from Jeptha to Euclid Avenue
  • Martin L. King Boulevard from Chester Avenue to Jeptha
  • Bellflower from East Boulevard to E. 115th Street
  • Circle from Adelbert Road to Cornell 
  • Wade Park from Ansel to E. 118th Street
  • Dearing from Stokes Boulevard to Stearns Road
  • East 101st Street from Chester Avenue to Ansel Avenue
  • Ansel Avenue from E. 101st Street to Hough Avenue
  • E. 89th Street from Carnegie Avenue to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 89th Street from 2176 E. 89th St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 90th Street from 2205 E. 90th St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 93rd Street from 2223 E. 93rd St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 95th Street from 2225 E. 95th St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 97th Street from 2221 E. 97th St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 100th Street from 2197 E. 100th St. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 101st Street from Wain Ct. to Cedar Avenue
  • E. 103rd Street from Wain Ct. to Cedar Avenue

For those who would like to walk by the venue, the sidewalks on Euclid Avenue are open to pedestrian traffic. Those who plan to be in the vicinity of the event during the day should make note of the list of prohibited items issued by the city.  

As with any event of this nature, peaceful protests are expected to take place on the perimeter of the event’s boundaries. The Cleveland Police Department is aware of planned protests and will be monitoring accordingly. On campus, the Division of Public Safety has increased patrols, including on the Nord Greenway and in the vicinity of the Maltz Performing Arts Center. 

For those students who feel stress relating to the debate, University Health and Counseling Services is hosting a series of Support Spaces for students to have open discussions in a moderated group setting. View a list of upcoming sessions here

How to Watch

Though COVID-19 concerns have prevented in-person events or watch parties, there are still numerous ways to get involved. 

At noon today, CWRU faculty experts in law, medicine, business and political science will join for a discussion of “The 2020 Election and the Future of U.S. Health Care,” an event sponsored by the CWRU Law-Medicine Center. 

Photo of the Health Education Campus with debate signage against a blue sky

During the presidential debate itself, the campus community is invited to join the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL) for a virtual watch party with Vote Everywhere ambassadors and the Voting Outreach Team.

The presidential debate will be broadcast on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, FOX News, MSNBC and CNN, and will also stream live on YouTube via C-SPAN. Check your cable provider or streaming service for access. 

And for those who wish to continue the conversation following this evening, stay tuned for events such as “Nurses Decode the Debates,” a series of nurse-led panel discussions following each debate to decode what was said, the plans revealed and how ideas shared could impact the future of health care. The first event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m.