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Kamala Harris was on Howard U's debate team. Now, her alma mater is gearing up to see her in the VP debate

Students at Howard University have been talking about the debates in their virtual classes and in Zoom meetings set up to discuss the event.

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence will take on Senator Kamala Harris in the first and only vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night.

This debate will look different than when Democratic nominee Joe Biden and current president Donald Trump went head to head in the first presidential debate. Preparations are already happening in Salt Lake City including installing plexiglass between the two candidates for safety. The Commission on Presidential Debates also agreed to move their podiums 12-feet apart.

Students at Howard University have been talking about the debates in their virtual classes and in Zoom meetings set up to discuss the event.

Kamala Harris participated in the school debate team while she was a student at Howard University. Angela Minor, the coach of Howard’s Speech and Debate team and Associate Professor of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, said she will be looking for swiftness and accuracy during the vice-presidential debate.

“We want some restoration. We want the American people to see that debates are useful, debates are necessary and debates are informative so we have to have that restoration. We are looking for the debate to come with swift attacks because that is actually what a debate is for but it is also with enough information that is vetted and informative for the American people to feel like we are actually moving somewhere with the issues we are currently facing,” said Minor.

While students at Howard University are not physically back on campus yet, Minor said this is a debate that many in the student body will be watching closely following last week’s presidential debate. 

“I think people are going to believe that this one is going to be different. I think they are waiting and they are waiting in anticipation and expectation for the greatness that they know these politicians and these individuals can deliver,” said Minor.

“The debate from last week was really all over the place in terms of just a lot of bantering, a lot of disorganization and a lot of informal language being exchanged. What I am hoping for as a debate coach is seeing more structure, more civility and more concrete responses as to what the issues are,” Minor added.

Wednesday’s debate will be divided into nine 10-minute sections which should mean more topics can be covered than what was seen in the presidential debate, which was divided into six sections.

“I’m going to be looking for swiftness and accuracy on all the political issues that the American people are facing. I’m going to believe and hope and I trust that Kamala Harris will be able to answer any question that comes her way,” said Minor.

Minor said Wednesday’s debate has also opened up opportunities for them to talk about the presidential election altogether and the importance of voting.

“This is the first. This is the first African-American woman. This is the first African-American if you will that has graced a vice-presidential candidacy, and yes, coming from a historically black university, we are extremely excited, we are in support of our fellow Bison,” said Minor.

When and where is the vice-presidential debate? The VP debate will air live from the University of Utah at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

How to watch the vice-presidential debate: 

You can watch the debate across every major network on cable as well as streaming, with CBS, ABC, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, Fox News, NBC, MSNBC and more all carrying the program. Additionally, while not officially announced, the vice-presidential debate is expected to stream live on YouTube.

Who is moderating? 

USA Today's Washington bureau chief Susan Page will be the moderator for the debate.

The Debate Team at Howard University will be tweeting throughout the vice-presidential debate. To follow them, click here.

Download the brand-new WUSA9 app here.

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