NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — History will be made Oct. 3 when the state’s largest Historically Black College or University, or HBCU, will host a debate between incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Warner and Republican challenger Dr. Daniel Gade.

This second debate for the candidates is co-sponsored by Norfolk State University, Visit Norfolk, the Virginia Bar Association, and WAVY-TV 10. The candidates will take on tough topics such as racial disparities, inequities in education and the criminal justice system.

A handful of NSU political science majors met at the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center Friday morning to participate in a live television event to determine which candidate gets the first question.

They told 10 On Your Side the Trump era has presented several concerning lessons.

Earlier this week, the president refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event he is defeated in the election. Senior Maleik Watkins responded to a question about whether democracy is at stake on Election Day.

Political Science students at NSU (left to right rear) Jeremiah O’Bryant, Malieik Watkins
( left to right front) Leah Smith, Symone Thomas

“Democracy is definitely at stake; we have an election for a reason and whoever wins that election is who we have to move forward with,” said Watkins.

Warner and Gade have clashed on a number of issues. Gade says the president should move forward with the selection of the Ginsburg replacement on the Supreme Court while Warner wants the votes counted first.

Eric W. Claville, J.D., M.L.I.S., director of the NSU Center for African American Public Policy told 10 On Your Side next week’s debate could set the stage for how the nation responds to a number of troubling issues.

“Now we stand at a moment of truth. Now we have the opportunity to have these issues at the forefront, to have these issues of inequity is a major moment at Norfolk State University,” said Claville.

If you’ve ever attended an NSU football home game, you know the mascot, Mr. Spartan knows how to put on a show.

In a display that would have the late great NSU football coach Dick Price proud, Mr. Spartan, flanked by two NSU cheerleaders conducted the highly anticipated coin toss to determine which candidate gets the coveted first question in the NSU debate. On the cue: “Behold the Green and Gold,” Mr. Spartan tossed a quarter in the air at the arts center named for Virginia’s first Black governor. After two bounces and a roll, the coin landed tail side up which means Warner goes first. Gade gets the closing statement.

Mr. Spartan and NSU cheerleaders

The debate, co-moderated by WAVY-TV 10 anchors Anita Blanton and NSU alumna, Regina Mobley, will be streamed live Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. on and the WAVY-TV Facebook page. On Monday, October 5, the debate will air on WAVY-TV 10. The debate will also be broadcast or streamed from 6 WAVY-TV sister stations.

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