Debate commission gearing up for gubernatorial election

The Indiana Debate Commission is reviewing venue applications from 10 facilities throughout the state that are interested in hosting gubernatorial debates this fall.

Site selection teams are visiting each of the facilities through May to review logistics, technical support, public participation possibilities, new technology innovations and other factors being assessed for fall debates.

“The site visits have been thorough and comprehensive—covering technical to practical aspects of hosting a debate,” said Terri Jett, a site team leader and chairwoman of the political science department at Butler University. “The facilities managers interested in working with us are an impressive group of professionals who are all eager to open their doors to citizen participation.”

A 13-page checklist, devised with the input of citizens, broadcast engineers, facilities managers and board members, is part of the on-site review process. Facility tours take about two hours.

“Not only do the candidates for governor have a variety of quality venues for public debates, these locations are spread around the state and provide locations that are easily accessed by Indiana voters,” said Dennis Ryerson, vice president of the commission and editor of The Indianapolis Star.

The venues that have applied to host fall debates include:

  • Ball State University-Muncie
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • Jasper Fine Arts Center/Vincennes University-Jasper
  • Rotary Club/Scottish Rite Cathedral-Indianapolis
  • Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Our Lady of Providence High School-Clarksville
  • Star Plaza Theatre-Merrillville
  • Grand Wayne Center-Fort Wayne
  • Indiana State University-Terre Haute
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Facility managers have until May 31 to apply for consideration. Late venue reports will not be reviewed for 2008 fall debates. Managers/owners may apply online at www.indianadebatecommission.com and fill out the preliminary site review form.

Once the facilities are assessed by on-site commission teams, the commission will review dates with the candidates and select three dates for debates.