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Zoom VP debate watch party with Northwestern students, presidential rhetoric expert

Media interested in covering the event must RSVP

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University undergraduate students will take part in a vice presidential debate watch party on Zoom Wednesday night with leading expert on presidential rhetoric and debate Professor David Zarefsky.

Media interested in attending must RSVP to Erin Karter at erin.karter@northwestern.edu by Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 5:30 p.m. CT. Zarefsky has limited availability, but is available to speak with media following the debate. Interview requests should also be sent to Karter.

One of the country’s leading experts on presidential rhetoric and debates, Zarefsky will join student members from Northwestern’s Communications Residential College, Public Affairs Residential College and International Studies Residential College and elsewhere on south campus to watch and discuss the debate. They likely will be joined by some political science faculty and students.

Zarefsky has been teaching at Northwestern for nearly a half century; he served as dean of the School of Communication for 12 years, and he is the author of 13 books, including the widely acclaimed “Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate.

Quote from Professor Zarefsky

“The vice presidential debates have been interesting to watch but none of them have made any difference to the presidential races. But that may be different this year, because of the age of the presidential candidates, the state of the president’s health and the uncertainty about whether the remaining presidential debates will take place. The chance that either Harris or Pence might become president is less remote than usual.”

The schedule is as follows (Central Time Zone):

7:40 p.m. -- Professor Zarefsky will talk about the role of the vice presidency in the campaign, past VP debates and, time permitting, what structural changes might occur in the final two presidential debates, assuming they occur given President Trump’s medical situation. 

8-9:30 p.m. -- Everyone will watch the debate, either streaming on the Zoom site or on an in-home device   

9:30 p.m. -- Return to the Zoom site for a discussion and analysis led by Zarefsky