Several students from the University of Cincinnati will be attending Wednesday night’s presidential townhall at Mount St. Joseph University. At least four UC students have been selected to ask President Joseph Biden questions during the event, which is being moderated by CNN.
Those students are Student Body Vice President Taylor Allgood, Speaker of Senate for Undergraduate Student Government Raphael Hicks, College of Arts & Sciences Senator Dillon Traftzer and political science major Tyler Benson, Allgood told The News Record in an email.
The students were chosen based on questions they submitted to CNN. The network reviewed those questions and selected those it thought were the best. The townhall is not set around a specific topic, so students were allowed to ask questions covering a wide range of issues.
Biden is expected to use Cincinnati as a backdrop to drum up support for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, which is currently working its way through Congress. That plan includes funding to “fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction.”
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, that could include the famously obsolete Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
Biden is set to arrive at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport at 4 p.m. He will stop at the IBEW / NECA Electrical Training Center to discuss how his administration’s multi-trillion dollar economic recovery agenda will create union jobs, before heading to the townhall event which is set to begin at 8 p.m.
Using a Catholic university as the venue for the event has garnered some backlash. Cincinnati Right to Life is holding a protest at 7 p.m. to denounce Biden’s visit, citing the president’s pro-choice stance on abortion.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati said in a statement on Tuesday that Archbishop Dennis Schnurr had not been contacted by any of the involved parties regarding the president’s visit.
“Archbishop Schnurr has therefore not been asked for, nor would he have granted, his approval for any such event to occur on Catholic premises,” the statement reads. “Mount St. Joseph University operates under the sponsorship of the Sisters of Charity and not under the direct oversight of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”
However, in a separate statement on Wednesday, the Sisters of Charity said the agreement to hold the townhall at Mount St. Joseph was solely between the university and CNN.
“The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are pleased for Mount St. Joseph University and its selection by CNN as the site of this week’s Presidential Town Hall with the President of the United States,” their statement reads. “Being selected for this honor recognizes the Mount as an outstanding institution of higher learning.”
Biden is the nation’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy.
The one-hour townhall will be livestreamed on CNN’s website, mobile apps and CNNgo, according to the network. Don Lemon will moderate the event. An invitation-only audience will be present at the event and CNN says it will follow all state and local COVID-19 guidelines.