COLUMBIA, S.C. — Benedict College will host President Donald Trump Friday as well as many of his democratic challengers.
"Benedict is quite frankly in the cross hairs of a pretty significant election," Benedict College President Roslyn Clark Artis said. "It's a big deal."
On Friday President Donald Trump is expected to speak at Benedict College to deliver the key note address at the second step presidential forum.
"The first forum was held four years ago at our neighboring institution, Allen University, certainly South Carolina is a critical state in this election," Artis said. "Columbia being the capitol city in the state, the proximity to the airport, a host of other factors weighed into the decision to host at Benedict College."
The event is all weekend long. The president is expected to speak on Friday, October 25 at Benedict College where he'll deliver the keynote address at the Second Step Presidential Forum. The event is being put together by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, which on their website says their goal is to is to “empower local leaders to implement innovative and practical solutions to problems in the criminal justice system.”
The event runs through Sunday, and as it so happens, will feature nearly all of the Democratic candidates running for president. The group says Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, and Julian Castro will also appear.
The candidates would not be at the event, however, at the same time Trump will be here.
People who want to attend the event must purchase tickets through the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center website. Tickets for the Trump event have sold out. Tickets for the president's event are sold out and are no longer on the ticket site. Tickets are still available for the other events, and are $40 each, and are sold per candidate time slot.
"This will give the students the opportunity to hear the platform as it relates to criminal justice reform from each of the candidates individually, they will be able to ask questions on the issue of criminal justice reform, and receive the answers to their questions so they can make an informed decision in this election cycle," Artis said.
Benedict College senior, Alvin Sheppard, said this event has been a topic around campus.
"I'm excited, I have open ears and I want to hear from everyone and hear their opinion because everyone has their different opinions, so it's good to see both sides," Sheppard said.
Artis has hopes students will engage and attend the events.
"We want our students to have an open mind, we want our students to listen intently to the answers given by the candidates, we want to them to be able to parse out what's realistic versus what is just a lofty idea and may never actually come to fruition," Artis said.
Columbia Police, the Richland County Sheriff's Department and SC Highway Patrol confirmed they will be assisting with Secret Service as the president makes his way to Benedict College on Friday. Details are limited for security reasons on what to expect on the roadways, just be aware of heavy traffic and road closures in that area.