HCC Board rescinds vote to seek host slot for 2016 debate

Aug 29, 2015

Citing “drastic changes in external factors such as the precipitous drop in oil prices and a gradual slowdown in the economy,” the Houston Community College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind their February decision to apply for an opportunity to serve as a host for the presidential/vice presidential debates in 2016.

“Due to the accelerated timeline for the application process, our internal committee was unable to conduct an up-front, detailed cost analysis,” said Dr. Cesar Maldonado, HCC chancellor. “Upon further investigation, it was determined that hosting such an event would cause extensive disruption to students, class schedules, and operations within the entire district.”

While HCC believes that the Houston community would strongly support hosting such a prestigious event, the distraction from the mission of serving the best interests of the students caused officials to change their minds. It was a unanimous decision made by the seven trustees in attendance.

“As we continue to educate the workforce of tomorrow, we felt it best to continue to put 100% of our focus on helping students succeed,” said Zeph Capo, chairman of the board. “As we transition to our Centers of Excellence model of providing education, we believe HCC will best benefit our community by concentrating our efforts on educating the workforce, rather than supporting this one-time effort.”

Houston Community College has been one of the 16 sites under consideration by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2016. Though initial cost estimates were in the $1 - $4 million range, it became obvious that the cost could run as high as $6 - $8 million to meet the needs of the Commission.

“When HCC began this journey in 2013, the Houston economy was more vibrant and donations much less likely to detract from scholarships and other educational initiatives,” Dr. Maldonado said. “Even though the HCC community remains blessed with strong financial support, today the setting is much more challenging. The Board of Trustees and I unanimously agree that it is a better choice for HCC to continue to build strong, local relationships to support the success of our students and the Houston economy."

For more information about the programs and services of Houston Community College, please visit www.hccs.edu.

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